January 30, 2023

PHILADELPHIA — Eagles defensive end Matt Leo teamed up with Niners quarterback Brock Purdy in Iowa State when they played Oklahoma and Jalen Hurts in the 2019 season.

The Sooners prevailed 42-41 in Norman, but not without some controversy as the receiver Prudy was aiming for in the end zone on a late two-point conversion attempt was potentially jammed.

This game is a blur for Leo, who has been largely unsuccessful in chasing hurts. But the Aussie expatriate was blown away by Purdy’s rise to starting quarterback job as a rookie. The 49ers have won seven straight games with Purdy, including twice in the playoffs, and a dozen straight games overall.

“I’m wearing the team at San Fran right now, I’m not a bit surprised,” Leo said Wednesday. “It’s his nature. I remember when he went straight out of high school to college. He was allowed to be close to the team, of course, but he was training before the semester even started. When I saw that kind of competitive character in him, I knew what he would bring to the team.”

Purdy’s role model was appreciated in the Ames dressing room. Leo describes it as very similar to Hurts’ humble, confident approach.

“Very loud, but not in an aggressive tone,” Leo said. “Rather a quiet tone. Always had a solution or was looking for a solution. When mistakes are made on offense, he’s there to fix them. Quiet guy and yes he delivers.”

Hurts certainly remembered the game on his Presser Wednesday. He said the Sooners blew up for five touchdowns in the first half and then had to fight back against the Cyclones and the relentless Purdy.

“I have a lot of respect for him,” Hurts said. “He’s always been a really good player. He’s got guts, he does plays, and he’s been doing it since college. It was no surprise when he got this opportunity to see the success he is having now.”

Purdy reiterated Hurt’s refusal during his presser with the Niners on Wednesday that this is a completely different situation. But he hasn’t forgotten how the game ended.

“It was almost like you had to score every time you had the ball,” Purdy said. “It was a fun college game and a great experience playing against Jalen.”

• • •

Eagles defenseman Avonte Maddox (toe) had limited practice on Wednesday with the right tackle against Lane Johnson (sports hernia).

Sirianni is “hopeful” Maddox can return to the lineup this weekend.

Johnson came out of the playoff win against the Giants not badly, playing 67 snaps out of a possible 70.

• • •

Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan said he spoke with defensive end Charles Omenihu, who was arrested Monday by San Jose police on suspicion of domestic violence, and a decision was made to “legally” handle the situation to permit.

Omenihu (oblique) was restricted in practice, along with cornerback Ambry Thomas (ankle). Running backs Christian McCaffrey (calf) and Elijah Mitchell (groin), wide receiver Deebo Samuel (ankle) and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (foot) weren’t training.

• • •

Snubbed in the AP vote, Sirianni is the winner of Maxwell Football Club’s 34th Greasy Neale Coach of the Year Award.

Sirianni is the fifth Eagles head coach to receive this honor, following Ray Rhodes (1995), Andy Reid (2000, 2002, 2010), Chip Kelly (2013) and Doug Pederson (2017).

In addition, the Maxwell Club named Hurts the winner of the 64th Bert Bell Professional Player of the Year. Norm Van Brocklin (1960), Pete Retzlaff (1965), Ron Jaworski (1980), Randall Cunningham (1988, 1990, 1998), Michael Vick (2010), and Carson Wentz (2017) were all honorees.

• • •

The Eagles plan to unleash an immersive drone show at the Oval of the Philadelphia Art Museum at 7 p.m. sharp Saturday.

If all goes well, the sky will be illuminated with a unique QR code that you can scan and enter to win two tickets to Sunday’s NFC title game. What could go wrong with that?

You might want to get there early: the show, presented by GilletteLabs, will be over in about seven minutes.

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