The first New England Patriots player to change their number under the new NFL rules will be Ja’Whaun Bentley, as the former Purdue linebacker announced that he will be switching to No. 8 on his Twitter and Instagram accounts.
As a part of the new rules and regulations around the NFL for 2021, the league announced on April 21st that it would be updating its jersey number policy to make for a more lenient set of rules regarding which positions are allowed to sport each number. Since then we have seen a number of players around the league change their jersey numbers but no we hadn’t seen a change by a Patriot. Bentley changed that today with his announcement.
Josh Uche did change from No. 53 to No. 55 but that was in agreement with the returning Kyle Van Noy, who sported the number in his original run with New England from 2016-2019. The switch would have been permitted under the old uniform policy.
Bentley’s switch is a bit of a curious one as he has not worn No. 8 throughout his career. He started out with No. 33 at DeMatha High School in Maryland before turning to No. 4 in his college years at Purdue. Since reaching the NFL in 2018, Bentley has worn No. 51.
We will now wait and see if Bentley’s announcement was just the first for current Patriots.