Speaking to the Philadelphia media for the first time since being acquired from the Jacksonville Jaguars for a conditional sixth-round draft pick, Minshew told a story about his most meaningful interaction with Sirianni before this week. It came during the pre-draft process in 2019 when Minshew visited the Indianapolis Colts, where Sirianni was the offensive coordinator.
"We were playing HORSE and it was getting pretty competitive, and I had a button-up on and I had to take that off because the game was getting a little too competitive. I think that really stood out. I think that might have played a role into why I'm here," Minshew said, cracking a smile.
"Dang, he [won]. I was up and then we started talking ball, he was kind of distracting me; I took my shirt off and it didn't help and he just continued to beat me. That's why I'm back. I'm back for revenge."
"I'm back for revenge." Gardner Minshew on how a game of H-O-R-S-E with Nick Sirianni left an impression. pic.twitter.com/wvGv6A7klD— Tim McManus (@Tim_McManus) September 1, 2021
Turns out Sirianni's competitive challenges for prospects predate rock-paper-scissors in Philadelphia, just as Minshew's penchant for going shirtless predates the NFL.
That showdown on the basketball court might have been the most time they had spent together until now, but Sirianni got to see Minshew play up close when his Colts faced Minshew's Jaguars, a division rival. Minshew has won both of his career starts against Indianapolis, completing 78% of his passes with six touchdowns and one interception. His 126.6 QB rating versus the Colts is his highest against any one team.
"Look forward to working with him," Sirianni said. "The first game up there last year, we opened up the season at Jacksonville, and he was 19-of-20 against our defense and really played a good game. I've watched him play some good games."
Minshew will start out as the Eagles' third-string quarterback behind Jalen Hurts and Joe Flacco, Sirianni said. Minshew took no issue with that, saying he's "just here to help this team win, whatever capacity that is. I'm here to work hard. I've got to learn this offense first and help all the guys in our room. So I'm just looking forward to the opportunity I have in front of me."
Minshew added that Hurts was the first person to reach out to him and welcome him when news of the trade broke.
Eagles general manager Howie Roseman explained the reasoning behind the trade for Minshew, noting the team's philosophy of investing heavily in the quarterback position and the need to have depth heading into a 17-game regular season amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Minshew has two years remaining on his rookie contract. If he doesn't move up the depth chart this season, he should have that opportunity in 2022, given that Flacco is on a one-year deal.
For now, Minshew is busy learning the scheme under his new coach -- and basketball nemesis.
"I'm very excited," Minshew said. "Just talking with Coach Sirianni and hearing him talk ball just gets me fired up because he's passionate about it, he knows it and is somebody I'm very excited to work with."