Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith will sport a new look in the 2021 season, and it's one Cowboys fans should recognize well. Smith will change his number from No. 54 to 9, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.
It wasn't long ago that four-time Pro Bowl quarterback Tony Romo wore No. 9 for the Cowboys. Smith reportedly reached out to Romo about the number change. Given that Smith is going through with the change, it's fair to assume that Romo is on board with — or at least didn't object to — Smith wearing No. 9.
Smith must really want the number, which he wore in college at Notre Dame, because he's willing to shell out six figures to wear it.
Under NFL rules, players who want to change their number in 2021 have to buy out stock of jerseys and shirts featuring their old number. Smith is willing to do that. Had he waited until next season, Smith would not be required to buy out his old merchandise, according to Archer.
Cowboys don't retire numbers, but ...
The Cowboys don't formally retire numbers. With that said, some numbers are off limits.
"Bob Lily's No. 74, Roger Staubach's No. 12, Troy Aikman's No. 8 and Emmitt Smith's No. 22 are not assigned," according to David Helman of DallasCowboys.com. No Cowboys player has worn No. 9 since Romo retired following the 2016 season. Smith will be the first.
In four seasons with the Cowboys, Smith racked up 498 tackles and nine sacks. He was elected to the Pro Bowl during the 2019 season.
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