LONDON – Maurice Hurst is a personable guy, as nice as they come interacting with the public. That's evident during interactions with the press and the former Uber driver's immaculate user ratings and reviews.
That's not how he approaches his current job. The Raiders defensive lineman plays angry. Until a big play is complete, anyway. Then he walks away from a sack or forced fumble rubbing his belly, celebrating the moment with his signature move.
"I did it after one play in college and everyone on the team loved it, so I kept doing it in college and kept doing it in the pros," the Michigan alum said on this week's Raiders Insider Podcast. "A lot of people enjoy it. It's always about having fun and enjoying each and every play you get out there."
The Raiders enjoyed his strip of Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield, which sparked a comeback and the Silver and Black's only victory this season.
"It's exciting, especially at a big point in the game," Hurst said. "We were down 14 points, and knowing we were able to contribute to the comeback was huge. We made some bad plays during the game so, to make some big plays with turnovers…really made up for things we did earlier in the game that wasn't so great."
Hurst has made several big plays through five professional games, with seven quarterback pressures, two sacks, a forced fumble and some quality run play. He has been the best of the three defensive linemen drafted this year, and will have another chance to prove it Sunday when the Raiders play Seattle at London's Wembley Stadium.
"I knew I was in a great situation with Coach Gruden called me during the draft," Hurst said. "I knew then that we were trying to build something new and something fresh. I don't think there's another place in the NFL where you have three rookie defensive linemen on the field at the same time. We're going to keep growing through each week. Our emphasis is to not play like rookies, to make our impact felt."
Most expected Hurst to make a major NFL impact, yet slipped well into the fifth round due to an irregular RKG that has not impacted his ability to play at Michigan or in the pros. It scared most teams off, but the Raiders cleared him to play. He'll get re-checked each year, but it has not been an issue this year.
Hurst doesn't view it as a problem, which left him flummoxed by the NFL draft slide. That was months ago now, and is focused on making something of his opportunity with the Raiders.
"It's not where you start, it's where you finish," Hurst said. "There are plenty of first round picks who don't pan out. There are plenty of fifth-round picks who don't. It's all about what you do in the NFL and once you get on the practice field. I'm trying to be the best player possible and try to produce like a first-round pick who was worth the selection."
Hurst is in the NFL. He's playing well and playing a ton. But, for someone with a mean streak on the field, this draft slight provides his playing rage plenty of fuel.
"I always carry a chip," Hurst said. "I play angry. I play upset sometimes. That's something that comes with my style of playing. I was obviously upset that teams missed on me. That motivates me every game I get to play, that I was skipped over so many times."