BLG is right a lot of the time. He’s a great analyst and a better writer who teaches me a lot.
His hair takes are poor and must be rectified.
Our typical hair conversation goes like this. I make a wonderful, well-thought out point about an Eagles player’s haircut. “Jalen Mills’ cut was cool when he was a rookie making a statement, but now it’s just hackneyed and lame.” The nearby listeners applaud my fearless take. Women are struck by how the sunlight strikes my jawline as I gaze over the field.
BLG: “No. You’re wrong.” He stares off into the distance, expressionless. The onlookers boo.
I decided to take to the streets—er, hash marks—and go straight to the source. I interviewed almost 20 Eagles in my pursuit of the consensus best hair player. And I uncovered a divisive chasm that could rip the Eagles’ locker room asunder.
I started with the DBs. As one would expect, they remained loyal to their compatriot—especially the rookies, who are not yet established enough to have the right to an opinion.
Avonte Maddox: “Oh, it’s definitely Jalen Mills.”
Jeremy Reaves: “Yeah, I’m saying Mills.”
Maddox: “Green Goblin, man.”
Because I’m a hard-hitting journalist, I push back. I go for the weak spot: the isolated rat tail at the base of Jalen Mills’ neck.
Jalen Mills' green rat tail is the most unique hair style I've ever seen pic.twitter.com/Ncv8CAoRA9— Benjamin Solak (@BenjaminSolak) July 28, 2018
To me, this is clearly evidence of a parasite that is lodged on Mills’ brain stem.
Reaves: “Yeah, it’s...different.”
Maddox: “I’ve never seen that. It’s unique. No-one else has that.”
And you still think it’s good with the rat tail?
Reaves: (laughs nervously)
Maddox: Yeah, man. Yeah.
I smell blood in the water. The DBs might hold firm to the gospel of the Green Goblin cut, but maybe another defender will cave. I go for Destiny Vaeao, who boasts of a wonderful mane—maybe his pride in his hair trumps his loyalty to the canon of Eagles hairstyles.
As I ask Destiny the question, there’s a moment of hesitation. Grave matters—life and death and man beauty—hang in the balance. The pause is pregnant.
Destiny Vaeao: “...Green Goblin.”
I can’t help but feel my heart drop. I again protest the rat tail, but I know the effort is futile.
Vaeao: “Yeah that’s dope! You’re not about it?”
I am not, Destiny. I am not about it.
Vaeao admits that his hair is the second-best on the roster as he departs—suspiciously quickly, I may add. He seemed anxious to get out from under my furious, unrelenting barrage of questions.
The tides begin to turn with another strong competitor of Mills’: Joe Walker, who rocks the more traditional mane of the wild linebacker—Bryan Braman, of course, the progenitor of the dynasty.
Joe Walker: “Best hair? I’d say myself.”
And who’s second?
Walker: “Second would be...oh, I’m trying to think. Lane’s got great hair. I like Lane’s cut, I’d say he’s number two.”
Brandon Brooks (from across the locker room): “Yo, what about Isaac Seumalo?”
Kamu Grugier-Hill: “Yeah, Isaac’s got some flow.”
I ask Kamu who takes the cake for him. Walker also “has some flow.”
I begin developing a theory: the lines are drawn in the sand by positional groupings. Offensive and defensive players have to stay loyal to teammates on their side of the ball, and sub-factions can form within the positional groups as well.
I share my theory, and state some examples. A lot of offensive lineman think it’s Isaac Seumalo; a lot of defensive backs think it’s Mills—
Brooks (aghast) “Mills?!”
Kamu (disbelieving): “Mills?!”
I have found the sleeper cell. These are my people.
Brooks: “No! Tell me, who said Jalen Mills?”
Kamu: “Jalen Mills’ hair gonna fall out!”
Walker: “Nobody wants algae!”
I begin listing off our enemies. Avonte Maddox, Greg Ward Jr, Destiny Vaeao
Brooks (furious): “DESTINY?!”
Walker (like an upset New Yorker): “WOOOOOOOW”
I relay the exchange: Destiny placed himself second.
Kamu: (clicks tongue, wags head)
Jordan Hicks (softly): “Destiny needs some confidence, man.”
I ask Jordan who his vote would be. Walker approaches from his locker, wrapped in only a towel, his shoulders forward.
Brooks: That Jalen Mills s*** is f****** ridiculous man, no way!
Oh, so we’re not done with that yet? I head back over to Brandon for his vote.
Brooks: Issac [Seumalo]!
Walker again approaches. I feel slightly uncomfortable that he’s following me around.
Brooks: I’d go Joe for second.
I decide to head into the lion’s den: Jalen Mills’ locker. On my way over to the DBs, I pass Mike Wallace, who’s always good for a funny quote. I stop quickly and ask him who has the best hair on the roster—he’s made fun of Mills’ energy to me before.
Mike Wallace: “Who has the best hair? Man, I dunno.”
I discuss some of the options. Vaeao, Seumalo, Walker, Mills. While Wallace is pondering, a shadow passes overhead; I feel the temperature drop in the room. All 322 lbs of Elijah Qualls looms over me and Mike, blotting out the overhead lights. I turn to him and ask the question.
Elijah Qualls: “Me—what?! You’re sick!”
Terror rushes through my veins. I scramble for an excuse. It’s not my answer; I’m just asking the question; please don’t eat me.
Qualls (walking away): “Don’t disrespect me like that, man.”
Wallace: “Man, I look the best on the roster. That’s my answer. I look the best on the roster”
Heart pounding, I go find Jalen Mills—the center of the hair universe in NovaCare. I ask the question.
Tre Sullivan (from adjacent locker): “Man, why you even asking him that?”
Jalen Mills: (laughs)
I tell Mills about my sleeper cell (though I leave myself out of the attendance sheet). Brooks, Kamu, Walker, Hicks, Kelce—they all don’t put Jalen in the top spot. Brooks and Walker are even affronted that it would be suggested.
Mills looks at me with a fatherly twinkle in his eye and takes a half-step closer. He smiles lightly, as sages do before they impart wisdom on the uninitiated.
Mills: “That...is what we call haters.”
As I fiddle away at my typewriter upon this dimly lit desk, I’m struck with the need for a definitive ranking on Eagles’ hairstyles. Divides like this can be rectified by an unbiased governing body—in this case, me and me alone. I have put exactly 63 seconds of thought into this list. Here we are.
Gold: Isaac Seumalo
Silver: Destiny Vaeao
Bronze: Joe Walker
Runner-up: Jalen Mills
Honorable mentions: Chris Long and Josh Sweat. (Some OL call Josh Sweat “Snoop” for Snoop Dogg; Sweat is not a fan.)
Also Elijah Qualls (checks shoulder nervously).