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Clutch a quantity: NFL players relish new single-digit identity

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Clutch a quantity: NFL players relish new single-digit identity

EAGAN, Minn. (AP) — When Patrick Peterson came across out about the NFL rule change expanding the ranges of jersey numbers that players are allowed to wear, he mercurial contacted one in every of his new teammates on the Minnesota Vikings.

The eight-time Professional Bowl cornerback wanted his precise No. 7 again, after being compelled to take No. 21 when he entered the league. Backup quarterback Nate Stanley had no advise giving it up and taking No. 14 instead.

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“He said yes. All I had to carry out was accept his dad’s high college team some shoulder pads,” Peterson said. “I said, ‘Completed!’”

Whereas the boys in Stanley’s native land of Menomonie, Wisconsin, desires to be a puny bit better gather while they’re blocking off and tackling below the lights this fall, Peterson will feel a bit more comfortable himself in the one-digit identity he solid for himself at Blanche Ely High Faculty in Pompano Beach, Florida, and then in college at LSU.

“I was known by that quantity, and I assume that in the occasion you’re known by a quantity, nine occasions out of 10 you’re a great player,” Peterson said, pointing to the No. 2 weak by Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders at Florida State and the No. 21 he wore as a pro. “Must you gaze that quantity, you gaze that person. I’m unbiased happy to finally now not handiest be back in crimson but also to wear No. 7.”

The updated pointers approved by the league this spring spread out Nos. 1-19 for operating backs and defensive backs, who were beforehand restricted to Nos. 20-49. Operating backs can steal from 80-89 now, too. Broad receivers were also granted the rights to single digits, after being slotted earlier than from 10-19 and 80-89. Tight ends were assigned 40-49 and 80-89 earlier than, but they can now take 1-39 as successfully. Linebackers were let in to the one-digit membership, too, and allowed to take 20-39 in addition to their customary 40-59 and 90-99.

The ranges for quarterbacks and specialists (1-19), offensive linemen (50-79) and defensive linemen (50-79 and 90-99) didn’t change, although centers, guards and tackles are now comingled. The feeble weak to be restricted to 50-59, the latter 60-79.

Temporary deviations from the place-by-place pointers are allowed at some stage in spring and summer practices when rosters are larger, but unless the commissioner grants special permission the principles desires to be adhered to at some stage in the regular season.

Vikings defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, who signed with the membership this summer and was uninspired by the No. 67 he was offered, picked No. 9 for training camp. He’s going to have to take something else in September, mildly irked that linebackers can flash single-digits but linemen can’t.

“I really don’t mind numbers, but I wasn’t wearing 67,” Richardson said. “We’ll gaze what happens.”

For this year handiest, players in the hunt for to change numbers within the allowable ranges for their place were required to first grasp out all the remaining stock of jerseys of their likeness thru the NFL’s official distributors. They sell for an average around $200, so there may be a 2d wave of switchers next year once the tab disappears.

Aloof, there have been masses of players, many of them cornerbacks fancy Peterson, who signed up fair away for a contemporary start.

Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey beforehand balked at the asking designate of a change while he was with the Jacksonville Jaguars, but now that single-digits were in play he took No. 5 in favor of his weak No. 20. Ramsey’s first preference was No. 2, but he yielded to extensive receiver Robert Woods, who discarded No. 17.

“The reason for me wanting No. 2 was really to bear in mind I’m 2d, fancy in lifestyles. I wanted to position others earlier than myself,” said Ramsey, who playfully traded photos earlier this year with Woods of them each wearing No. 2 in Pop Warner childhood games.

Woods, a native of Los Angeles, wanted to wear his original quantity as an inspiration for teens playing the game he once did in the same city.

Arizona Cardinals operating back James Conner left his No. 30 in the back of with the Pittsburgh Steelers and picked No. 6 along with his new team — a first for his career.

“It’s unbiased a changeup. I reflect it appears to be like unbiased correct on uniforms, too. But I’ve got to play unbiased correct in it. That’s first,” Conner said.

Baltimore Ravens extensive receiver Marquise Brown went from No. 15 to the No. 5 he wore in peewee ball to emulate Reggie Bush, who was then a star USC operating back.

Carolina Panthers rookie cornerback Jaycee Horn took No. 8 fair out of the gate of his NFL career in memory of his favorite NBA player, the late Kobe Bryant.

New England Patriots cornerback Jalen Mills switched teams from the Philadelphia Eagles and switched in the system from No. 21 to No. 2, to honor the favorite preference of his late uncle.

“He wasn’t a real mountainous sports activities fan, but any time I did play, he did watch me. With a little bit of luck, I unbiased wanted to portray him with that,” Mills said.

Another Patriots newcomer, linebacker Matt Judon, left No. 99 in the back of with the Baltimore Ravens and picked No. 9 to match his college jersey quantity — and his family.

“I’m one in every of 10 teenagers, so I’ve got nine siblings. Each time I fling obtainable, I portray them,” Judon said. “I fancy nine. That’s one in every of the reasons I rock it.”

Defensive stay Carlos Dunlap wore No. 96 with the Cincinnati Bengals, but that’s Cortez Kennedy’s retired quantity so he had to take something else when he was traded to the Seattle Seahawks last season. After going with No. 43 then, he’s wearing No. 8 now — as he did 12 years ago in his final college season at Florida. That is Dunlap’s 12th year in the NFL.

“I felt fancy it was a designate, that it was an alternative in year 12 with the 12s,” he said, referring to the numeric nickname that Seahawks fans have taken on.

But wait, it will get even better.

“I had eight all thru high college, so that’s been my quantity,” Dunlap said. “Eight has surrounded my lifestyles in the occasion you all want me to head that deep. There are eights in my birthday, eights in my license plate. After they take my random lodge room, it both adds up to eight or it has an eight in it. Coincidentally, last year I was 43, from the 8-4-3. Eight occasions 12 is 96. I mean, I can sustain going.”

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AP Sports activities Writers Tim Sales space, David Brandt, Kyle Hightower, Steve Reed, Noah Trister and AP freelance author Dan Greenspan contributed to this file.

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More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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Clutch a quantity: NFL players relish new single-digit identity