New numbers, who this? Well, maybe new numbers.
On April 1, the NFL released a list of proposed rule changes, and Kansas City brought an interesting proposal to the table. The rule would allow an expansion of the range of numbers for certain positions, adding more options for skill players. Running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, linebackers and defensive backs would be able to rock single digit jersey numbers, an option only currently available to quarterbacks, kickers and punters. The rules are up for a vote this month, and NBC Sports' Peter King believes this one will pass.
Here is what the new number ranges would be, should this rule pass. The impacted positions are in bold:
Wide Receivers: 1-49, 80-89
Tight Ends: 1-49, 80-89
Running backs: 1-49, 80-89
Offensvie linemen: 50-79
Defensive linemen: 50-79, 90-99
*Linebackers: 1-59, 90-99
Defensive backs: 1-49 *Punters and kickers: 1-19
News of this possible change is causing a stir, and Patriots players are no exception. On Twitter, Kyle Van Noy, James White and Dont'a Hightower were among NFL players discussing the possibility and what it could mean for their respective jerseys.
In light of the conversation around the rule change, the Patriots official social media accounts shared what a few jersey swaps would look like, using players' college numbers. The hypothetical switches include Julian Edelman's No. 11 becoming 1, Stephon Gilmore in No. 5, Dont'a Hightower in No. 3, Sony Michel rocking No. 1, Kyle Van Noy as a No. 3, Chase Winovich in No. 15, Ja'Whaun Bentley in No. 4 and Jonathan Jones as No. 3.
While there's no guarantee Patriots players will make changes to their numbers, it seems like the speculation alone is generating excitement in the locker room -- even if it takes time to get used to seeing a linebacker in a single digit jersey.