Entering his fifth year in the NFL, Jalen Mills won’t just have a new position. 

He’s going to have a new number too. 

In his first four seasons in the NFL, Mills wore No. 31. But recent signing Nickell Robey-Coleman is going to take over that number and Mills is going to jump to No. 21 after Ronald Darby left for Washington as a free agent. 

Mills explained the jersey number change on a conference call Tuesday: 

I think the number change is just a new beginning. One of the guys that always motivated me was a Kobe Bryant or a LeBron James. You see Kobe went from 8 to 24, you know, LeBron went from 6 to 23 (LeBron actually went from 23 to 6 to 23). It’s just recreating myself. Recreating that Green Goblin, that monster. It’s a new position, it’s a new feel, and it’s going to be new energy.

Mills, 25, signed a one-year, $4 million deal to return to the Eagles this offseason. He said there were some other teams interested in him, but he feels like there’s “unfinished business” in Philly and thinks the Eagles have a shot at returning to the Super Bowl. 

While no other teams wanted Mills to play safety, the Eagles will have him play a hybrid defensive back position to help replace Malcolm Jenkins, whom they let walk. Those are big shoes to fill, but Mills seems confident — doesn’t he always? — that he’ll be able to get the job done.


If he does, he’ll be wearing the No. 21, which has been a strong number in Eagles history. It was once worn by Eric Allen for seven seasons and Bobby Taylor for nine. 

In recent years, Darby took over the 21 in 2018 after Patrick Robinson left in free agency to re-join the Saints. 

Here’s a list of every Eagles player to ever wear No. 21 in a game: 

James Zyntell, Les Maynard, Paul Cuba, John Kusko, Herschel Stockton, Allison White, Chuck Cherundolo, William Boedeker, Al Pollard, Jim Carr, Joe Scarpati, Ray Jones, Jackie Allen, Wes Chesson, Al Clark, John Sciarra, Evan Cooper, Eric Allen, Bobby Taylor, Matt Ware, William James, Joselio Hanson, David Sims, Roc Carmichael, Jerome Couplin, Leodis McKelvin, Patrick Robinson, Ronald Darby

Mills will add his name to that list soon enough. 

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