Pre-game blog: Steelers at Eagles

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Mutual respect: Earlier this week, Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts sang the praises of safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.

And it wasn’t just because of the way Fitzpatrick plays the game now.

This is because of the relationship the two formed while they were both at the University of Alabama.

“Thirty-nine (Fitzpatrick) is a guy you know where he is on the court,” Hurts said. “I have a lot of respect for him, knowing him personally, knowing the type of man he is, the character he has and the job he does.

“I remember a lot of nights where it was Saturday night, Friday night and everybody went out and I think I’m the only one going to the weight room, out in the field doing some extra work, but Minkah was there too.

“He plays defensive back, and he was going out and running roads for me. That’s how versatile he was. Lots of respect for Minkah. He’s made some big plays since I’ve known him.”

Fitzpatrick smiled upon hearing Hurts’ words, as he remembers those nights. And those were nights he enjoyed because he’s a football addict who likes to help his teammates.

“I recognized Jalen as a hard working guy,” Fitzpatrick said. “He came from a hard working family. His dad was a football manager. Hard work was ingrained in him. I consider myself a hard worker. Whenever I see a guy willing to work to improve, to win games, I do everything I can to help him. I challenged him to help him improve. He’s a quarterback, so I walked roads. I love to play football so whenever i had the opportunity to play football i did.

While the extra reps helped Hurts, it also benefited Fitzpatrick.

“It definitely helped me,” Fitzpatrick said. “Just catching the ball as a DB you only get so many catches in practices. So catching passes helped.

“I was also choosing his brain, how he sees the field, and stuff like that. It gave me a little insight into how the quarterback sees the field.”

Hurts has led the Eagles to a 6-0 record so far this season, with just two turnovers, and his success comes as no surprise to Fitzpatrick.

“He’s a competitor. A great player,” Fitzpatrick said. “His decision making. He reads the pitch and gets the ball where he needs it. He gets the ball there quickly. Doesn’t take too many sacks or hits. He sees the pitch and makes decisions quickly.

“He was one of my favorite guys to play with. Going against him is going to be fun. I know he’ll come out with a chip on his shoulder.”

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