Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts a Fan of Late Titans QB Steve McNair, and a Friend of Current Titans WR A.J. Brown


INDIANAPOLIS – The question was about today's NFL quarterbacks, and here at the NFL Combine, Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts rolled off an impressive list of players he's admired from afar.

"I watch all the great guys -- Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson, Lamar Jackson," Hurts said. "I have a lot of respect for those guys."

But there's one quarterback who made a lasting impression on Hurts.

"I've always had a thing for Steve McNair," Hurts said of the late Titans quarterback. "I don't know what is, but he was a hell of a player. The way he played, the ability he had, the strength that he had."

Hurts, who finished his collegiate career with the Sooners after playing previously at the University of Alabama, was just a little boy when McNair starred for the Titans.

Hurts was one when McNair led the Titans to Super Bowl XXXIV. The year McNair won the league's co-MVP award in 2003, Hurts was five years old. But Hurts has seen highlights from McNair's playing days, and has always respected his game.

"I mean, he was a dude," Hurts said of McNair. "He was a dude."

Check Hurts' Twitter page and you'll see his last activity was recognizing McNair's birth date February 14. Hurts retweeted a post from the NFL wishing "Happy Birthday to a legend," which was paired with a photo of McNair, his hands held up in the air.

Hurts, who grew up in Texas, also spoke highly of a current Titan during his media availability on Tuesday.

Hurts is close friends with Titans receiver A.J. Brown, and he said the two talk regularly. Brown, if you remember, showed up for a Titans preseason game back in August wearing an Oklahoma jersey with the name Hurts on the back.

"He's a great friend of mine, a close friend of mine," Hurts said of Brown. "I actually recruited him to Alabama – he didn't come, but we've been very close every since. We talk often, and (relationship) has been very supportive – I've been very supportive of him. It is beyond football with me and him – he is a great friend.

"And it was very cool to see him have the year he had this year and I know he is hungry for more."

This week, Hurts is hoping to prove to NFL scouts and coaches he can make the leap – and be successful – at the next level.

Hurts was a Heisman Trophy runner-up during the 2019 season at Oklahoma after a successful career at Alabama, where he was an All-SEC performer and a national champion.

When he stepped up to the podium this week, Hurts expressed gratitude for the opportunity.

"I just want to express the appreciation of being here and being around these great players and being able to meet with these great clubs," Hurts said. "I want to give a special thanks to my parents … they raised me to be the man I am today so I am very appreciative of it."

Check out Titans players over the years at the NFL Scouting Combine. (AP Photos)

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