Eagles-Patriots joint practices: The return of Nelson Agholor and Jalen Mills

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Two Eagles Super Bowl heroes return to NovaCare with Patriots originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

They helped the Eagles accomplish something unforgettable 3½ years ago, and this week they’re back where it all began.

And for Nelson Agholor and Jalen Mills, it was hard to pretend these were normal practices. Even though they tried.

“This is a beautiful place and I’m super happy with the opportunity that we get to practice vs. the Eagles and also be back here and see a lot of wonderful faces,” Agholor.

“It was fun. At the end of the day, we came out here to compete and learn and to grow as players, so it was fun. For me, the cool part about it was to see guys I played with also working on their craft and enjoying the game of football.”

Agholor and Mills were key members of the 2017 Eagles team that beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl, and now they’re teammates on the Patriots team that’s visiting Philly for joint practices against the Eagles.

When you think about Mills, you think of him defending Julio Jones in the end zone to clinch the Eagles’ 15-10 win over the Falcons in the conference semis. When you think of Agholor, you think of nine catches for 84 yards in the Super Bowl, including three straight first-down catches on the game-winning drive in the fourth quarter.

Without them, there is no parade.

Both had their ups and downs here, but both will always be remembered fondly because of their roles in the Eagles’ first championship in more than half a century.

“I’ve got memories here, we did something that will be in the books forever and I’ve got a history with a couple of the guys,” Mills said. “But I just see it as a new journey. My journey is already written [with the Eagles].”

Agholor and Mills both spent five years here. Mills was the Eagles’ seventh-round pick in 2016, Agholor a first-round pick in 2015. Mills left the Eagles after last season, signing a four-year, $24 million deal with the Patriots. Agholor signed a minimum-wage deal with the Raiders after the 2019 season and had a career-high 896 yards with eight TDs last year before inking a two-year, $22 million deal with the Patriots.

“It’s fun [being teammates again],” Agholor said. “I love his energy. You guys know he has amazing energy. He’s a competitor. We’ve had some battles over there, too. Just like how we did here. He does a great job covering me and helping me learn and I see things from him that I like to correct and things like that.”

Amazing that two guys who helped topple Bill Belichick in one of his three Super Bowl losses are now helping him seek his seventh Super Bowl win.

“He’s the same,” Mills said of Nelly. “Come out there and work hard every day. That’s what you want to see from a player. We both went two different ways, with me staying here and then him going over there to the Raiders and now us being back together, we both have that same work mindset from when we were both here.”

Agholor and Mills both said their focus now is on being Patriots and getting ready for the season, so neither was in the mood for too much reminiscing Monday. But they were certainly enjoying being back where it all began.

“I loved the opportunity to be here and I’m super grateful for Mr. (Jeff) Lurie and Howie (Roseman) and everybody that gave me an opportunity to be a Philadelphia Eagle,” Agholor said. “I’m super happy with the opportunity I have now to be a Patriot.

“I love the fact that I’m seeing so many special people. You guys (writers), teammates I played with, coaches. It’s a special place.”

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