On Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles faced off against the San Francisco 49ers, and less than two minutes before halftime, fans saw what underestimated cornerback Jalen Mills could contribute to the team.
While the Eagles would have had the ball following halftime, Mills decided he wanted it a little sooner and intercepted a pass that was thrown by 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard. He ran down the sideline and cut inward until he reached the end zone and completed the pick six.
The play put the Eagles 17 points ahead and kept the 49ers from having any points on the board before they headed into the locker room. However, as fans cheered and jumped up and down over his fancy footwork, they may have missed the details on his cleats, which carried him down the field.
October is breast cancer awareness month, and with only one game left, Mills donned a pair of cleats covered in pink Pokémon in honor of the women who are “out there fighting.”
No one in his family has battled breast cancer, but his uncle fought liver cancer, and he decided to wear the cleats to show his support for both women who have beat the disease and the ones who are still fighting.
“Just reading stories of the battles women encounter is heartbreaking,” he told IJR. “The courage it must take to still be a wife, mother, and some even still work.”
Mills acknowledged he's in the unique position to “reach a mass group,” which is why he tries to show youth, who may look up to him, that “anything that affects one, affects us as a whole.”
Many people look to professional athletes for inspiration. However, this time, it was the women who are dealing with their own “pain and healing process,” yet still find time to help others, who were doing the inspiring. He added that just being able to “tell the world I have breast cancer,” is remarkable to him.
“It’s also like saying, 'I’m bruised, but not broken,' and that is so powerful to me,” Mills explained to IJR.
As for the moment he reached the end zone, he admitted to IJR it was made all that more special because of the cleats he had on his feet. “I felt I was standing for [every] mother, daughter, [and] sister who are fighting the fight and winning the battle.”
Watch the moment below.