99 to 9 - Why NFL stars Jaylon Smith Jalen Ramsey and others paid thousands to switch to single digits | MCUTimes

99 to 9 – Why NFL stars Jaylon Smith Jalen Ramsey and others paid thousands to switch to single digits

Minnesota Vikings corner kick Patrick Peterson, Corner of Los Angeles Rams Jalen Ramsey and Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith is among the many NFL stars who this season have switched to numbers that are untraditional for their positions.

The league eased its restrictions on position numbering earlier this year and opened the door for players from almost all position groups to swap their old number with a single digit (sorry, linemen).

The new numbers symbolize many things: a fresh start after a disappointing season, a way to pay tribute to the family or a tribute to pee wee, high school and college glory days.

In the case of players joining new teams, the exchange cost nothing. But for those left with their clubs, NFL rules required a player to buy inventory of his existing jersey to make an immediate change – a payout that for some reached six figures.

ESPN’s NFL Nation was fascinated not only by the changes in numbers, but the reasons behind them. Here’s what we found out.

Nr. In 2020: 32
Change in 2021: 3

Baker wore No. 32 in college in Washington, started his NFL career at No. 36 and then switched back to No. 32. But the allure of No. 3 was too great. “I can somehow have my own heritage and have my own number,” Baker said. “I really liked 3 growing up.” However, it was not cheap to buy his stock. Baker said it cost him “a handsome crown.” – Josh Weinfuss


Nr. In 2020: 12
Change in 2021: 1

Callaway bar No. 1 in high school and in college in Tennessee. The safety of saints CJ Gardner-Johnson -a former rival in Florida-also said he wanted No. 1 first, and Callaway said he “thought we should have a wide receiver-DB fight” for it. But thankfully, Gardner-Johnson changed his mind. – Mike Triplett


Nr. In 2020: 43
Change in 2021: 8

Dunlap wore No. 43 after being traded last October because No. 96, which he wore with the Bengals, is retired by the Seahawks. Now he has switched back to his number in Florida. “I felt like it was a sign that it was an opportunity in year 12 with the 12s. Twelve years earlier I was No. 8, so it just felt right to me.” – Brady Henderson


Nr. In 2020: 23
Change in 2021: 3

Farley said No. 3 was his mother’s favorite number. “I had to ask for it. It’s my favorite number and my mother’s favorite number, so there’s a lot of meaning behind it for me,” said Farley, whose mother, Robin, died of cancer in 2018. Farley wearing No. 3 being a rookie is also of interest because head coach Mike Vrabel gets rookies to earn their inventory. He shows them e.g. Lower on the depth chart. Farley also carried the number at Virginia Tech. – Turron Davenport


Nr. In 2020: 28
Change in 2021: 7

Fournette is from the 7th Division of New Orleans. “That’s where I was born and raised,” Fournette said. “It’s just me. That’s what I represent. I’m so great at giving back to where I’m from, and it really represents how special that place is to me … It was a special number for me. in college, so I’m like why not wear it again? “- Jenna Laine


Nr. In 2020: 13
Change in 2021: 1

For Hamler, it was a return to his Penn State days. He flashed his game-changing speed as a Broncos rookie in 2020, but spent much of last season dealing with a persistent hoarding problem. He hopes that the switch to No. 1 is the start of a much better year 2. – Jeff Legwold


Nr. In 2020: 54
Change in 2021: 8

Ingram wanted a fresh start when he arrived in Pittsburgh, and No. 8 has a double meaning. “New place, new start,” he said. “Still the same me though. The first time I ever played football was my number 44 – 4 plus 4 is 8, and Kobe [Bryant] is one of my favorite athletes. “- Brooke Pryor


Nr. In 2020: 39
Change in 2021: 4

Jackson switched because he carried No. 4 as a standout in Alabama. When asked if the new number makes him feel younger, Jackson, 27, smiled and replied, “Definitely.” – Jeff Dickerson


Nr. In 2020: 32
Change in 2021: 1

Johnson Jr. said he was looking for a “fresh start” with a new number and wanted to be a part of NFL and Houston pro football history. “[I] would be one of the first to [wear No. 1] here besides Warren Moon, “he said. – Sarah Barshop


Nr. In 2020: 12
Change in 2021: 7

Jones, who wore No. 7 in high school and college, said it was his favorite number. But when he asked Raiders coach Jon Gruden to switch, Gruden told him, “No good receivers carry low-digit numbers.” Jones then countered with Raiders legends Fred Biletnikoff (No. 25) and Cliff Branch (No. 21). “He was a little numb,” Jones said. Shortly after, No. 7 was his. – Paul Gutierrez


Nr. In 2020: 99
Change in 2021: 9

Going back to the number he wore at Grand Valley State, Judon also chose No. 9 for another reason. “I have nine siblings. Every time I go out there, I represent them. That’s one of the reasons I rock it. Ninety – nine was taken, so I chose to use the new rule.” – Mike Reiss


Nr. In 2020: 28
Change in 2021: 1

McKinnon is in his first season with the Chiefs, but he carried No. 28 for the 49ers in 2020. He is the only Chiefs player with an unconventional number for his position group. He wore No. 1 in college in Georgia Southern. – Adam Teicher


Jalen Mills, CB, New England Patriots

Nr. In 2020: 21
Change in 2021: 2

Mills honors his late uncle with the contact. “It was my uncle’s favorite number. He wasn’t a really big sports fan, but every time I played, he saw me. I just wanted to represent him with it.” – Mike Reiss


Nr. In 2020: 12
Change in 2021: 2

Moore’s switch goes back to his small league days, where he won a championship wearing the number as a 5-year-old. He also thinks that it looks good on him and thus is worth the necessary financial investment. – David Newton


Nr. In 2020: 41
Change in 2021: 4

Moseley said the number is a family tradition. “No. 4 is like my family number. In high school, I had No. 4. My cousin wore No. 4, brothers wore 4. So when that number became available, I had to take it.” – Nick Wagoner


Patrick Peterson, CB, Minnesota Vikings

Nr. In 2020: 21
Change in 2021: 7

Peterson wore No. 7 in college and high school, and the number has a sentimental value. “I always wanted to rock No. 7. I felt like 7 was my number. Like 21 is Deions [Sanders] number, do you know what I mean? I just felt like in high school and in college I made 7 acquaintances. You can tell. When I went to LSU, guys wanted to wear No. 7 … I felt like it was my number. “- Courtney Cronin


Jalen Ramsey, CB, Los Angeles Rams

Nr. In 2020: 20
Change in 2021: 5

Ramsey wanted No. 2, a number he said gave a reminder that he is number two in life. But he gave it to the teammate Robert Woods. “If you look at 5 in the mirror, [it] comes back as 2, “Ramsey explained.” Then 5 is like a series of balances, just as in the Bible there are five commandments against God and there are five commandments against men. “- Lindsey Thiry


Nr. In 2020: 48
Change in 2021: 9

Simmons wanted a fresh start after his rocky rookie season. He thought a new number would be the way to go. He said he did not have an affiliation with No. 48, which he chose after the Cardinals selected him in the first round of the 2020 draft. – Josh Weinfuss


Jaylon Smith, LB, Dallas Cowboys

Nr. In 2020: 54
Change in 2021: 9

Smith, who wore No. 9 in high school and at Notre Dame, has an affiliation with the number, and therefore he chose No. 54 – 5 plus 4 equals 9 – in the first place. He paid six figures to buy the remaining stock of No. 54 jerseys and T-shirts, though 9 would have been free next season. “No. 9 is a part of me,” Smith said. – Todd Archer


Nr. In 2020: 54
Change in 2021: 4

Walker, who carried 54 most recently with the Indianapolis Colts, changed his number to 4 over the summer. That was his number when, as a quarterback, he led his pee team to a championship. – Jake Trotter


Robert Woods, WR, Los Angeles Rams

Nr. In 2020: 17
Change in 2021: 2

Woods jumped at the chance to wear No. 2, which is the number he had on playing youth and high school football in the Los Angeles area and later at USC. “Having a chance to wear it at this NFL level is super special here in LA, here in my hometown. It just brings back memories for a lot of people, even myself.” – Lindsey Thiry

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