The New England Patriots returned to the practice fields on Monday to kick off their organized team activities as part of the third phase of voluntary offseason workouts. The practice was not just another step towards the 2021 season, it also gave us a first look at some new jersey numbers.
A total of 29 players were wearing new digits, with the team announcing the full list in a post on its social media channels:
New veteran jersey numbers dropping— New England Patriots (@Patriots) May 24, 2021
Full roster: https://t.co/KUhltKGOjc pic.twitter.com/jr248GmCas
The list of new veteran numbers looks as follows:
2 — DB Jalen Mills: The free agency acquisition already announced picking No. 2 on social media last week, making him the lone member of New England’s secondary to take advantage of the new expanded rules.
5 — QB Brian Hoyer: Despite the jersey numbers he previously wore during his career all taken by other players (8, 6, 7, 2), Hoyer stayed in the single digits to pick No. 5.
8 — LB Ja’Whaun Bentley: Bentley wore No. 51 for the first three seasons of his career, but he changed it to No. 8. Why that number? It’s double his college number at Purdue (4).
9 — LB Matthew Judon: Judon donned No. 9 at Grand Valley State and returns to the number with his new team. He had previously worn the 91 and 99 jerseys with the Baltimore Ravens.
13 — WR Nelson Agholor: New England’s free agency addition went with a familiar number: Agholor had already donned No. 13 during his final three seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles. His jersey history also includes 15 (USC, Las Vegas) as well as 17 (Philadelphia).
23 — S Kyle Dugger: With his college number (2) taken, the second-year defender switched from No. 35 to the one he wore at last year’s Senior Bowl: Dugger will don No. 23 moving forward, the jersey also worn by veteran Patrick Chung before his retirement.
25 — RB Brandon Bolden: Bolden had worn No. 38 throughout his career, but he too decided to make a change. He will wear 25 coming out of his Coronavirus opt-out.
30 — S Adrian Colbert: The recent free agency pickup has worn multiple different jerseys and jersey numbers through his journeyman career. Now, he can add No. 30 to the collection.
34 — RB Tyler Gaffney: Gaffney donned No. 36 during his first stint with the Patriots, but has now changed numbers: the free agency addition will go with No. 34.
46w — LS Wes Farnsworth: New England handed out the No. 46 jersey twice. The white version indicating offense will be worn by long snapper Wes Farnsworth. He had previously owned 42 (Nevada Reno, Denver) and 1 (Miami).
46b — LB Raekwon McMillan: The other No. 46 jersey in the defensive color blue now belongs to free agent addition Raekwon McMillan. The former second-round draft choice wore 52 (Miami) and 54 (Las Vegas) so far, so he might be a candidate for another switch if he survives roster cutdown day.
48 — LB Harvey Langi: A return to New England means a return to his old jersey number: Langi wore No. 48 during his first stint with the Patriots and has now returned to it.
51 — LB LaRoy Reynolds: Throughout his career in the NFL, Reynolds has worn six different jersey numbers in the 50s. Now, he can add a seventh courtesy of Ja’Whaun Bentley moving from No. 51 to No. 8.
53 — LB Kyle Van Noy: Van Noy is back in New England, and back in his old jersey number. The veteran linebacker received No. 53 in a trade with second-year defender Josh Uche. Speaking of whom...
55 — LB Josh Uche: After trading with Van Noy, Uche will stay in the 50s and wear the No. 55 jersey moving forward. It is a storied number in New England that was famously worn by Willie McGinest in the past.
64 — G Alex Redmond: Redmond wore No. 62 with the Cincinnati Bengals, and will now wear No. 64 as a Patriot.
65 — C James Ferentz: Even though he donned No. 66 the last few years. Ferentz will wear a different jersey moving forward. He will go with 65, a number not on his résumé until this year.
66 — C Marcus Martin: Martin was given No. 68 after his in-season arrival last year, but he has now decided to move to James Ferentz’s old No. 66.
67 — C Ted Karras: Even though he likely could have returned to the 75 jersey he wore during his first four seasons in New England, Karras decided to stay with the number he donned during his one-year stint with the Miami Dolphins. Why? The fact that his grandfather wore it with the Chicago Bears might be a reason behind that.
72 — OT Yodny Cajuste: With the No. 77 jersey being reclaimed by offseason addition Trent Brown, Cajuste moved to 72. He has no prior connection to that number, having worn 55 in college.
77 — OT Trent Brown: Ever since arriving in the NFL in 2015, Brown has worn No. 77. This will not change during his return to the Patriots.
81 — TE Jonnu Smith: This one is pretty straight forward: Jonnu Smith had worn 81 with the Tennessee Titans, and he will continue to wear it in New England as well.
82 — WR Devin Smith: The practice squad wide receiver started his career in the 10s — he wore No. 19 in New York and No. 15 in Dallas — but will now move to No. 82. It remains to be seen whether or not a change of jersey numbers will also bring a change of fortunes.
84 — WR Kendrick Bourne: Bourne had already confirmed via social media that he would be keeping the jersey number he had worn in San Francisco as well. He also could have picked No. 10, which he donned before his old team acquired Jimmy Garoppolo from the Patriots via trade in 2017, but that one will belong to first-round rookie Mac Jones.
85 — TE Hunter Henry: With the No. 86 jersey he donned in Los Angeles belonging to Devin Asiasi, and with his college number 84 in the hands of Kendrick Bourne, Henry went with the number between those two.
90 — DT Montravius Adams: Montravius Adams has worn No. 90 with the Green Bay Packers, and he will continue to wear it in New England.
92 — DT Davon Godchaux: After starting his career with No. 56, Godchaux has made a change into the 90s upon his arrival in New England. As a result, fellow defensive tackle Nick Thurman will wear another number moving forward.
94 — DE Henry Anderson: With his college and pro numbers both taken — 91 belongs to Deatrich Wise Jr, 96 to Tashawn Bower — Anderson will wear the No. 94 jersey in his first year as a Patriot. He could make a change, though, in case he survives roster cutdowns and Bower does not.
95 — DT Nick Thurman: As mentioned above, Thurman had to change jersey numbers after the arrival of Davon Godchaux in free agency. He will go with No. 95.
The Patriots’ rookie class, meanwhile, has yet to receive its official jersey numbers. For the time being, however, its members are again donning jerseys in the 50s based on draft status. The team did the same the last few years, with the highest draft choice — quarterback Mac Jones — getting number 50, and so on. If New England sticks to the past timeline, the youngsters will only receive regular jersey numbers in preseason.