Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles visit the Commanders on Sunday in the quarterback’s first game in Washington since an incident in January in which multiple fans were injured when a railing at FedEx Field collapsed near Hurts.
Moments after the Eagles’ 20-16 victory over Washington on Jan. 2, Hurts was about to enter the tunnel leading to Philadelphia’s locker room when the railing collapsed. Multiple videos show a group of about eight fans falling approximately 6 feet to the ground. Hurts sidestepped the falling fans and wasn’t hit. He helped one person up and asked several of them whether they were OK while posing for pictures.
Commanders president Jason Wright called Hurts a few days later, and according to sources, the two spent about one hour on the phone discussing the railing collapse and what could be done to prevent similar incidents in the future.
The Commanders since have taken a number of steps to fortify that area of FedEx Field, a source told ESPN. The franchise has added security across the stadium, especially in areas near the field that are closer to players, while also repairing and fortifying the railings in those areas.
Washington also has banned people from entering restricted areas, like the one where the railing collapsed in January. The team cannot comment on the situation because of ongoing litigation between the injured fans and the organization.
Two days after what he described as a “near-tragic incident,” Hurts sent a letter to the Commanders franchise and the NFL, asking what follow-up action would be taken and noting that “it could have been so much worse.”
A team spokesperson said Wright “received the letter and sent a private email in reply. He looks forward to talking to Jalen,” while also stating that the franchise is “working to ensure this does not happen again.”
The Commanders said in a statement after the Jan. 2 game that “everyone involved was offered on-site medical evaluation and left the stadium of their own accord.” But four individuals who fell as a result of the railing collapse — all of whom said they suffered injuries from the incident, most of them minor — rebutted the claim that they were offered on-site medical evaluation.
A team official said the area where the fans congregated was for people with disabilities and was designed for wheelchair access and that the railing was not load-bearing and therefore was not designed to withstand hundreds of pounds leaning into it. Members of the group contend, however, that they were granted access to the area by a member of stadium security and that there was no signage indicating it was a restricted area.