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A look back at the one electrifying moment DeSean Jackson and Jalen Hurts overlapped

DeSean Jackson knew from the very beginning Jalen Hurts was going to be special.

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The football history between Jalen Hurts and DeSean Jackson was brief. But unforgettable.

One game.

One pass. 

Not surprisingly, it was an 81-yard touchdown.

It was Dec. 27, 2020, during the grim final days of Doug Pederson’s Eagles coaching tenure, early in a 37-17 loss to the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.

It was Jackson’s 379th and final catch as an Eagle. It was the final touchdown pass of Pederson’s five years with the Eagles. It remains the only TD pass in NFL history of at least 80 yards from a quarterback 22 or younger to a receiver 34 or older.

That touchdown gave Jackson the NFL record with 25 TDs of at least 60 yards – he added a 26th with the Raiders in 2021 – and it also moved him past Mike Quick for third place in Eagles history in receiving yards.

This really was two ships passing in the night, Jackson in his final game as an Eagle and Hurts in his third career start. 

On Friday, as he formally retired as an Eagle, Jackson recalled his brief time with Hurts, one Eagle great finishing his career and another starting his.

“I was lobbying for Jalen Hurts back when we had Carson Wentz starting at that time, when everybody was like, ‘Why would we pick Jalen Hurts in the second round?’” Jackson said at the NovaCare Complex Friday. “I remember we were at practice and Jalen was actually the backup behind Wentz. And we were (at practice), me, Howie (Roseman), I think Alshon Jeffery at the time. 

“And Jalen was actually going vs. the starting defense because, you know, when you're the backup, you go vs. the 1’s. So I'm sitting there watching him, I'm just seeing him sling the ball and he’s making crazy plays and it was like, ‘I told you, that that kid’s gonna be special, man.’ Just to see where he’s at now?”

Pederson was fired two weeks later, and the Eagles traded Wentz to the Colts four months later. Nick Sirianni became head coach, Hurts became the full-time starting quarterback and the Eagles haven’t stopped winning since.

Jackson spent 2021 with the Raiders and Rams and then finished his career last year with the Ravens. 

In the end, Hurts and Jackson only played one complete game together. But Jackson knew he was seeing something special.

“We actually trained in the offseason (after the 2019 season), and he came to Tampa and everybody was like, ‘Why is Jalen Hurts training with DeSean Jackson?’” Jackson recalled. “Like, ‘Why isn't Carson Wentz out there training?’ And it was actually, he just made it convenient because I trained in Tampa, and he came out there and trained with me. And we trained for like a whole week. And we were able to build, and I just saw that his mentality was different then. 

“You could tell, he’s coming from Alabama, just his mentality, just how eager he was to win. He had like an older mentality. It was like he was like an uncle or like an old father. And it was just like the game was never too big. It's just his persona, his demeanor. 

“He's just walking around, he's flicking the ball. I'm like, ‘Something's special about him.’ The game is not too big for him.’ It's like he'd been here before.

“So I definitely saw Jalen Hurts before what the world sees now. So I definitely, I feel like he's just starting, man. I think he's going to be here for a long time, man. He's going to have some special moments here in Philadelphia. And as you can see, man, he's QB No. 1 for a reason.”

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