Family means everything to NFL star and ESSENCE May/June cover star Jalen Hurts. In addition to having a tight bond with his mom, brother, sister and dad, he has learned quite a bit from his grandmother. While he won’t talk too much about his girlfriend, Bryonna Rivera Burrows, the Houston native has been quite open about his adoration for his grandma.
“I love me some Granny Cindy,” he said in our cover story. “She’s the staple in my spirituality. She’s always the one like, ‘Ask God for what you want. Ask God for what you need. He knows, but it’s okay to say it in prayer.’ ”
In past press conferences for the NFL season, he’s talked about prioritizing her calls and how she doesn’t play about hearing from her grandbaby.
“I always feel it in my heart when I know it’s time to give her a call. If not, she’ll beat me to it,” he said during a press conference last summer. “She’ll send me a text message: ‘I ain’t heard from you in a minute.'”
He continued, “She’s given me so much wisdom. So much love throughout my years and she’s been there through everything. I appreciate what she is to me. I appreciate the woman she is.”
“In everything we do we get caught up in all this glam, all this fame and notoriety and all these things like that, but just have a humble heart,” he added. “I think my grandmother definitely preaches that to me day in and day out. I’m thankful for her — and her cooking.”
For the record, “Granny Cindy” is a great cook, making Southern classics like chitterlings and pig feet, which he said he’d only eat if she was the one who made it.
He also made adorable headlines in 2022 when he was interviewed by GQ for their “10 Things ___ Can’t Live Without” series and she called to FaceTimed him while they filmed. While they couldn’t stay on the phone long, she ended their conversation with a sweet, “Granny love you.”
When she’s not keeping him rooted in his faith, fed, and Facetimed, Granny Cindy knows how to keep her famous grandson, now the highest paid NFL quarterback out there, encouraged.
“My grandmother she sends me a message every day. Some encouragement, showing me a lot of love, really keeping me rooted,” he told press. “She just told me, ‘Go be Jalen. Go be Jalen.'”
Being Jalen has certainly paid off for the handsome football star, who is winning on the field and off. We’re sure his grandmother is very proud.