PHILADELPHIA — The Green Goblin is ready for prime time.
Eagles rookie cornerback Jalen Mills, who earned that nickname after he dyed his hair green in training camp, could start his first NFL game Monday night at Chicago (0-1).
Mills practiced with the first team on Thursday because Leodis McKelvin has a left hamstring strain.
“It’s the same I’ve been approaching it since OTAs,” Mills said. “Just putting my best foot forward and going 110 percent at practice whether it’s on defense or special teams.”
Mills played 12 snaps after McKelvin went down in a 29-10 win over the Browns. The seventh-round pick from LSU had two tackles and allowed an 11-yard catch on third-and-13.
“The competition level is going to be the same,” Mills said. “We’re in the NFL. They have a great team and we have one as well.”
Mills was projected to go as high as the second round in the draft but dropped way down perhaps because of issues off the field. He had a second-degree battery charged dropped to misdemeanor simple battery. Mills was sent through the court’s pretrial diversion program and his charge was dismissed Dec. 4, 2015.
“We got a chance to talk to him at the Senior Bowl, again at the NFL combine,” Eagles personnel boss Howie Roseman said after the draft. “He gave us his version of the events. We investigated it like we do everything. We were comfortable enough with the set of circumstances that we were described that we thought that it was worthwhile to give him a second chance here.”
Mills will have a tough test against Jay Cutler and the Bears. They’ll likely find ways to have Alshon Jeffery match up against him. Jeffery had four catches for 105 yards in Chicago’s loss to Houston.
Mills lacks experience but he has plenty of swagger. He needs it to pull off a unique hairdo.
“Nobody had to coach him on confidence and the ability to bounce back,” veteran safety Malcolm Jenkins said. “He’s got really thick skin; he’s a perfectionist when it comes to his technique and wanting to compete. So I think those things are going to help him out.”
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