Jalen Hurts was expected to make his second preseason start for the Eagles on Thursday night. Instead, veteran backup Joe Flacco took the field with Philadelphia’s first-team offense.
That led to questions from Eagles fans. Did Philly’s coaching staff want to see Flacco work with the 1s after performing well in Week 1 of the preseason? Or is Hurts dealing with an injury?
The Eagles quickly announced via Twitter what was going on: Hurts was sitting out the contest because of illness.
Participation Update: QB Jalen Hurts will not be playing tonight due to an illness.
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) August 19, 2021
NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo reported minutes later that the team said the illness was not COVID-19-related. After the game, Eagles coach Nick Sirianni announced that Hurts was dealing with “pain in his abdomen.” The Eagles sent him to the hospital to be evaluated, and he was diagnosed with a stomach infection.
“He wasn’t feeling great when he came in,” Sirianni said. “He wanted to go out there and go through pregame warmups. He came back in and still wasn’t feeling good. We evaluated him and decided it wasn’t in his best interest to play with what he was feeling. We evaluated him. He’s fine now; he’s doing OK, but that’s why we held him out.”
“For a guy like that to tell us… he’s a tough guy, so it must have been hurting pretty good.”@Eagles Head Coach Nick Sirianni gives an update on Jalen Hurts after he went to the hospital to get evaluated for pain in his abdomen. pic.twitter.com/6Y576WlUz9
— NFL Total Access (@NFLTotalAccess) August 20, 2021
The Eagles’ first drive didn’t go well without Hurts. Backup center Nate Herbig launched a snap over Flacco’s head on the third play from scrimmage. Flacco recovered the loose ball, but then Matt Judon strip-sacked him. Patriots safety Jalen Mills recovered Flacco’s fumble to give New England possession at the Philadelphia 9.
Two plays later, Damien Harris finished the short drive with a 5-yard touchdown run.