The New England Patriots’ defense will feature at least two single-digit numbers this season.
Days after linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley announced he’ll be switching from No. 51 to No. 8, defensive back Jalen Mills revealed he’ll wear No. 2 in his debut campaign with the Patriots.
Mills wore No. 31 during his first four seasons with the Eagles, then changed to No. 21 for his final year in Philadelphia. He sported No. 28 at LSU and No. 8 at DeSoto (Texas) High School.
The NFL implemented new regulations earlier this offseason that greatly expand the scope of allowable jersey numbers for linebackers, defensive backs, wide receivers, tight ends and running backs. Most notably, players at all five of those positions now are allowed to wear numbers in the single digits.
Mills was part of the Patriots’ mass influx of veteran free agents, signing a four-year, $24 million contract in March. A versatile defender who played all over the Eagles’ secondary, the 27-year-old should help fill the void left by Patrick Chung’s retirement.