On Tuesday, the New England Patriots finally announced the new jersey numbers for their veteran offseason acquisitions (i.e. all players brought aboard not via the draft or rookie free agency). With time aplenty during the offseason, especially a virtual one without any practices or other on-field work, let’s use this chance to dig a little deeper and find out who previously donned the 10 new numbers that were made public earlier this week.
Let’s start with the lowest number handed out by the team.
2 — QB Brian Hoyer
Most recently worn by: Nick Folk
Most famously worn by: Doug Flutie
Hoyer himself donned No. 2 during his second of three stints in New England between 2017 and 2019 cutdown day, but it has since been passed on to three kickers: Mike Nugent, Kai Forbath and, most recently, Nick Folk, who all tried to replace Stephen Gostkowski during the 2019 season. Hoyer now reclaims the jersey that has also previously been worn by punter Mike Patrick (1975-78) as well as former starter and backup quarterback Doug Flutie. Flutie, like Hoyer, wore the number twice — he donned it between 1987 and 1989 and later for a short stint in 2005.
10 — WR Damiere Byrd
Most recently worn by: Quincy Adeboyejo
Most famously worn by: Jimmy Garoppolo
Damiere Byrd took over No. 10 from fellow wideout Quincy Adeboyejo, who took on No. 19 as mentioned below. Traditionally a wide receiver number in New England, it has also been worn by Jabbar Gaffney (2006-08), Austin Collie (2013) and Josh Gordon (2018-19). The most famous person to don it, however, might just be a former backup quarterback: between 2014 and getting traded to the San Francisco 49ers during the 2017 regular season, Jimmy Garoppolo called No. 10 his.
13 — WR Marqise Lee
Most recently worn by: Phillip Dorsett II
Most famously worn by: Phillip Dorsett II
Only seven players have worn the No. 13 jersey in a regular season or playoff game for the Patriots, and the most recent owner is also the one most famous for carrying it: Phillip Dorsett. While the former first-round draft pick never lived up to his status in New England’s offense, he did last three years with the team and helped it win a Super Bowl. Before Dorsett, wideout Joey Galloway (2009) and quarterback Tom Hodson (1990-92) were the most notable players to wear it.
19 — WR Quincy Adeboyejo
Most recently worn by: Cameron Meredith
Most famously worn by: Brandon LaFell
After giving up No. 10 to Damiere Byrd, Adeboyejo picked a number that has some history in New England — especially at wide receiver. Brandon Tate (2009-10), Donté Stallworth (2012) and Malcolm Mitchell (2016) all wore it. While they all played notable roles wearing No. 19, the most famous Patriot to don it is Brandon LaFell. While he spent only two years with the team between 2014 and 2015, LaFell was a starting wideout for a team that won the Super Bowl. At other positions, punter Tom Tupa (1996-98) and quarterback Damon Huard (2002-03) also wore the jersey.
21 — S Adrian Phillips
Most recently worn by: Duron Harmon
Most famously worn by: Malcolm Butler
Duron Harmon wore Adrian Phillips’ new number before getting traded to the Detroit Lions earlier this offseason, but the most memorable player to don it is undoubtably Malcolm Butler. Between 2014 and 2017, No. 21 was Butler’s and he helped win the Patriots two Super Bowls wearing it. Other than him, defensive backs Ricky Reynolds (1994-96), Steve Israel (1997-99), Randall Gay (2004-07), Deltha O’Neal (2008) and Ras-I Dowling (2011-12) are notables to call it theirs. Running backs J.R. Redmond (2000-02) and Fred Taylor (2009-10) also had some success as the No. 21.
22 — S Cody Davis
Most recently worn by: Obi Melifonwu
Most famously worn by: Asante Samuel
Numer 22 has seen a lot of successful wearers over the years, with Asante Samuel (2003-07) standing out among them. That said, running backs Ron Burton (1960-65) and Stevan Ridley (2011-14) also are noteworthy. The jersey did have its ups and downs over the years, however, with Obi Melifonwu most recently disappointing. The former second-round draft pick was released by the Patriots earlier this offsesaon, ending his two-year stint as No. 22.
39 — CB D’Angelo Ross
Most recently worn by: A.J. Howard
Most famously worn by: Sam Cunningham
From Sam Cunningham (1973-82) to Laurence Maroney (2006-09) and Danny Woodhead (2010-12), No. 39 has mostly been associated with running backs over the course of the years. Cunningham in particular stands out as the Patriots’ all-time rushing leader and a member of the team’s Hall of Fame. Since Brandon Browner’s one-year stint in 2014, however, it did not have a lot of success: Travaris Cadet (2015), Steven Jackson (2015) and Jordan Richards (2019) all disappointed wearing it.
41 — CB Lenzy Pipkins
Most recently worn by: D’Angelo Ross
Most famously worn by: Larry Carwell
You have never heard of Larry Carwell? He wore the No. 41 jersey between 1969 and 1972, when he appeared in 51 combined games for the Patriots as one of their starting cornerbacks. That he is the most famous player to don 41 speaks for the number’s history, however: it is not illustrious. This century, for example, it belonged to guys like Ray Ventrone (2007), Justin Green (2013) and, at one point, Cyrus Jones (2018). Not exactly a who’s who of NFL royalty.
45 — FB Danny Vitale
Most recently worn by: Eric Lee
Most famously worn by: Otis Smith
The first Patriot to wear 45, two-way tight end/cornerback Thomas Stephens, found some success between 1960 and 1964. After him, the jersey has a rather disappointing history: of the 12 players to wear it in a game for New England since, only cornerback Otis Smith (1996-2002) stands out. Smith, of course, played 59 games for the organization and was a starting cornerback in Super Bowl 36.
52 — LB Brandon Copeland
Most recently worn by: Elandon Roberts
Most famously worn by: Ted Johnson
Between 2016 and 2019, Elandon Roberts called No. 52 his — and he was quite successful wearing it, while helping the Patriots win two Super Bowls. However, he was only one in a series of linebackers to successfully don the number: Ed Philpott (1967-71) and Johnny Rembert (1983-1992) both played quality football as the 52, while Ted Johnson (1995-2004) helped the Patriots win three championships. Copeland will try to add to that proud history.
94 — DT Beau Allen
Most recently worn by: Ufomba Kamalu
Most famously worn by: Ty Warren
No. 94 does not have that proud a tradition in New England. Tim Roberts (1996), Shaun Ellis (2011), Ricky Jean-Francois (2017) and Adrian Clayborn (2018) would be the most famous men to wear it if not for one Mr. Ty Warren: a former first-round pick by the Patriots, Warren spent eight years with the team and won two Super Bowls along the way — all while being named to New England’s Team of the 2000s. The Patriots will hope that Allen follows his lead rather than that of the other players to previously wear the jersey.