GREEN BAY, Wis. — Long hair in the NFL is not uncommon. Despite the fact a player’s lengthy locks can legally be pulled on or grabbed by an opponent and that they can frequently get stuck in a helmet, shoulder pads or other equipment, there are still examples of long hair on every team across the league.
However, the NFL may have a new champion in the fantastic follicles department: Green Bay Packers rookie safety Jerron McMillian.
“It’s been seven years and counting,” McMillian said of the last time he’s had his hair cut or trimmed. “I don’t know if it’s the longest in the NFL, but it’s past the middle of my lower back.”
Once McMillian got to Green Bay for the beginning of offseason workouts, it didn’t take long for his teammates to notice just how much hair he was sporting.
“(Former Packers cornerback) Al Harris’ hair was real long, but Jerron’s hair is really long,” said Packers starting safety Morgan Burnett, who also has no shortage of hair flowing outside his helmet.
McMillian, the Packers’ fourth-round pick out of Maine, appears to have surpassed the seemingly unbeatable hair length of former Green Bay safety Atari Bigby, who now plays for the San Diego Chargers.
Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu is famous for his long hair, but not even he can match McMillian.
Though hair length is certainly a fun topic, there are football implications to consider. If McMillian races down the sideline after an interception, he’ll be easier to catch from behind as his hair extends at least an extra foot behind him. In fact, that’s happened to him.
“Many times on many occasions,” McMillian said. “It sucks when it happens, but after a while you get used to it. Sometimes it doesn’t hurt. Sometimes you don’t realize it until later on (watching film) that he grabbed my hair.
“Sometimes, I’ll go to tackle somebody or they’ll try to block me, then they try to grab my jersey or my hair. But I don’t mind it.”
There are several Packers with long hair, but it would likely take years for any of them to catch McMillian. Though linebacker A.J. Hawk recently gave up most of his hair in a charitable effort, Clay Matthews is still known for his free-flowing blond locks and offensive lineman Josh Sitton frequently wears a ‘Long Hair, Don’t Care’ shirt.
No one, however, is in McMillian’s league.
“No thoughts at all (about cutting it),” McMillian said. “I’ll just let it grow.”