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Despite taking part in pregame warmups, Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts sat out of Philadelphia's preseason 35-0 loss against the Patriots with a non-COVID illness, the team announced just after kickoff. Hurts' absence spoiled what was supposed to be his first game with rookie receiver DeVonta Smith, who sat out of last Thursday's preseason loss to the Steelers with a knee injury. 

"We wanted to play him one or two series. He didn't feel well going into the locker room so we held him out," said Eagles coach Nick Sirianni.

After the game, Sirianni offered more detail on the QB's surprise absence.

"He wasn't feeling great when he came in, and so we put him through pregame warmups," the coach told reporters. "He still wasn't feeling good, and we evaluated him and just decided it wasn't in his best interest to play, with what he was feeling. He's fine now, he's doing OK now ... (but) he actually went to the hospital to get evaluated, for his stomach ... He had pain in his abdomen. For a guy like that to tell us, you know, he's a tough guy, it must've been hurting pretty good for him to let us know about that."

With Hurts out, backup quarterback Joe Flacco got the start against the visiting Patriots. A bad snap on the Eagles' third play, however, set up the Patriots' first score on a 5-yard run by New England running back Damien Harris.

A second-round pick in the 2020 draft, Hurts went 3-for-7 for 54 yards in last week's 24-16 loss to Pittsburgh. Despite some early struggles, Hurts had a successful outing during a recent scrimmage against the Patriots defense. It was also the first time Hurts was able to speak with Cam Newton in person. Newton is trying to stay ahead of rookie quarterback Mac Jones on the Patriots' depth chart. 

 "I've also had communication with him -- just from an older athlete, obviously he's a legendary player, the things he's done in college and in the league," Hurts said of Newton, via ESPN's Tim McManus. "I watched him a lot growing up. Being able to talk to him, being able to have a relationship with him, and meeting him in person for the first time, it was great."

Expectations in Philadelphia are high for Hurts, who is hoping to help the Eagles rebound after the franchise won just four games in 2020. 

"He's never satisfied," Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen recently said of Hurts, via the Washington Post. "That's what makes him good. He wants to be great. … He's ascending in the right direction, and we're excited about his progress."

Will Nick Sirianni boom or bust as an NFL head coach? Can Jalen Hurts live up to the hype? Download the CBS Sports app and get the latest news, insights, and surprising predictions from our team of experts. If you already have the app, make sure to favorite the Eagles to get the latest news quickly.