Two players wear No. 34 for the Chiefs, but don’t bother identifying safety Jerron McMillian by his numerals.
Look for the dreads.
McMillian’s long dreadlocks drape from his helmet, reaching halfway down his back, obscuring his name and half of the No. 34
It’s a product of going without a haircut for eight years. Unofficially, he has the longest hair in the NFL, even longer than Pittsburgh’s Troy Polamalu or Green Bay’s Clay Matthews.
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“It’s just me … who I am,” said McMillian, who joined the Chiefs last January after spending part of the past two seasons at Green Bay. “I’ve had the long hair since high school. I grew into it, and it grew on me. As time went on, I just kept it. I never took time to measure it.”
McMillian, 5-11, also can be easily found in the Chiefs’ secondary, often working with the first team as the sixth defensive back in the dime defense.
‘It’s a good opportunity, but I’m still trying to learn,” said McMillian. “I’m trying to play fast and be reliable. I’m trying to earn their trust.”
McMillian entered the league as the Packers’ fourth-round draft pick from Maine in 2012, and after appearing in all 16 regular-season and two playoff games as a rookie, started the first two games in 2013. But he soon fell out of favor with the Packers and was released with four games remaining in the season.
“Some things you have to push through, and I didn’t push through enough,” McMillian said. “Things that I probably didn’t do right, I have to do better … being mentally strong and stay on top of things I need to.”
The Chiefs were looking to upgrade at safety in place of Kendrick Lewis and Quintin Demps, who left in free agency. General manager John Dorsey, familiar with McMillian from scouting him for Green Bay, threw him a lifeline.
“I appreciate that,” said McMillian. “Now I have to do the things that I didn’t do … better. I have to be more in tune with all the techniques … where I’m supposed to be … all the reads, and help out wherever I can.”
McMillian’s rookie year was marked by a hit against New York Giants tight end Marcellus Bennett that drew a $21,000 fine. McMillian said that play did not inhibit his aggressive play last year.
“I’m always going to play aggressive,” he said. “I’m not going to play football thinking about fines. If anything, I’ll take the fine. I’m not going to let anything slow me down.
“I’m trying to bring some emotion … get to the ball … run to the ball every time I can. Being reliable.”
McMillian’s teammates have been impressed with what he’s brought to the secondary.
“He brings energy,” said free safety Husain Abdullah. “He keeps us smiling. He’s very in tune with the playbook. Coach (Bob) Sutton could put something in tonight, and he’ll know everybody’s position in the morning.”