Jalen Mills: ‘I’m Not Guilty For Anything’

Mills denied any wrongdoing in a 2014 incident when he allegedly punched a woman in the mouth.

Jalen Mills. (USA Today Sports)

Jalen Mills. (USA Today Sports)

When the Eagles traded for the second pick in the draft and reduced their number of selections last month, it impacted the players they picked in the later rounds.

“The biggest factors to us was not having as many picks in the early going as we used to,” Howie Roseman said after the draft, “so we felt like later in the draft, taking shots on guys in the seventh round, really having the best undrafted process we ever had, became a priority to us.”

One player the Eagles took a chance on was LSU defensive back Jalen Mills, who expected to be picked in the second or third round. However, he fell to the seventh round, likely in part because of his fractured left fibula last August and his 2014 arrest for allegedly punching a woman in the mouth, which briefly knocked her unconscious.

In his first media availability with Philadelphia reporters before rookie minicamp Friday, he denied any wrongdoing. Although multiple media outlets reported Mills was charged with battery, he said he was only arrested and that the charge was “pending.”

In April of 2015, the Times-Picayune wrote that the charge was dropped after Mills successfully completed a pretrial diverson program and paid the victim’s medical expenses.

“It was basically her word versus mine. Domestic violence is very serious around the whole U.S., so women, nine times out of 10, usually get the upper hand until you go to court,” Mills said. “[I] didn’t want to go to court; didn’t want it to linger on. I plead no contest, so I didn’t get put on charges, or I’m not guilty for anything.”

According to the Times-Picayune, Mills’ attorney said the defensive back’s girlfriend threw the punch, which resulted in the victim receiving four stitches in her lip. The district attorney reportedly said at the time that his office “often” refers first-time offenders charged with misdemeanor battery to diversion programs, which includes routine drug testing, a psychiatric evaluation and 30 hours of community service.

Mills said he was “very” tempted to go to trial, but that he decided against it because he didn’t want the case to drag on, potentially delaying his return to school and the football program. He added that an LSU dean allowed him to come back on campus after she decided Mills’ version of events “was kind of more the truth” compared to the victim’s, which then led Les Miles to bring Mills back to the team.

“Me being raised around women, they taught me how to cater to a woman and how to love a woman, and not to do those things I was accused of,” Mills said, who added that he was raised in a single-parent home by his mother, two aunts and grandmother. “The hurt wasn’t really for me because I knew I wasn’t guilty, but it was the hurt for how my mom and my grandmother [felt], how they knew I wasn’t raised like that and wouldn’t do something like that.”

When Mills turned his attention to football, he said he’s playing corner right now, which he calls his “natural” position. At LSU, Mills played both corner and safety, and he’s considered versatile enough to play both in the NFL.

Mills said he wasn’t sure if his potential red flags off of the field impacted his draft stock, but that every team he spoke with made him address the situation. That included the Eagles, as Roseman said after they drafted him that they conducted their own investigation.

“We got a chance to talk to him at the Senior Bowl, again at the Combine. He gave us his version of the events. We investigated it like we do everything. He’s got to prove himself as he gets here,” Roseman said. “We were satisfied with the investigation that was done down there in Baton Rouge and with the university. We think we know what kind of kid this is, but again, he gets here and he’s going to have to prove it here.

“We forget sometimes that these guys are college kids and things happen, and 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.”