With organized team activities being kicked off on Monday, the New England Patriots announced new jersey numbers for their veteran offseason acquisitions (i.e. all players brought aboard not via the draft or rookie free agency) as well as a handful of other changes. With time aplenty during the offseason, let’s use this chance to dig a little deeper and find out who previously donned those 29 new numbers.
Let’s start with the lowest handed out by the team and go through them one-by-one.
2 — DB Jalen Mills
Most recently worn by: Brian Hoyer
Most prominently worn by: Doug Flutie
Free agency addition Mills announced the switch to single digits — thus taking advantage of the league’s new jersey rules — earlier this offseason, making him the first defensive back to wear such a number. Recently, the number belonged to quarterback Brian Hoyer as well as three kickers (Mike Nugent, Kai Forbath, Nick FolkI). Its most famous owner so far is quarterback Doug Flutie, though. Flutie wore the number twice: he donned it between 1987 and 1989 and later for a short stint in 2005.
5 — QB Brian Hoyer
Most recently worn by: Justin Rohrwasser
Most prominently worn by: Shayne Graham
The No. 5 jersey does not have a proud tradition in New England. In fact, only five players have worn it in a game before it went to rookie kicker Justin Rohrwasser last year. Among those were backup quarterback Kevin O’Connell (2008) as well as kickers Fred Steinfort (1983), Greg Davis (1989), Pat O’Neill (1994-95) and Shayne Graham (2010). Graham being the most prominent man to don it is all you need to know.
8 — LB Ja’Whaun Bentley
Most recently worn by: Jake Dolegala
Most prominently worn by: Josh Miller
No. 8 was worn by five punters and a kicker before Brian Hoyer took it as an undrafted rookie in 2009. While Hoyer is probably the most famous player to wear it, it should be associated with Josh Miller: the Patriots’ punter between 2004 and 2006, Miller helped New England win a Super Bowl. Now, linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley will try to follow those footsteps while becoming the first defender to own the jersey.
9 — LB Matthew Judon
Most recently worn by: Roberto Aguayo
Most prominently worn by: Scott Sisson
Free agency acquisition Matthew Judon will become the fifth Patriots player to wear No. 9 in a game, and hopefully he will have more success than the other four: kickers David Posey (1978), Scott Sisson (1993) and Bryan Wagner (1995), as well as offensive utility player Isaiah Stanback (2009). Sisson is probably the most famous out of the group, having played in 13 games for the team during the 1993 season: he made 14 of 26 field goal attempts and was perfect on all 15 of his extra point tries.
13 — WR Nelson Agholor
Most recently worn by: Marqise Lee
Most prominently 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 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. Marqise Lee, who held it last offseason, never actually wore it in a game due to his Covid-19 opt-out.
23 — S Kyle Dugger
Most recently worn by: Patrick Chung
Most prominently worn by: Patrick Chung
While players such as Ron Hall (1961-67), Daryl Johnson (1968-70) and Leigh Bodden (2009-11) have all worn No. 23, the most famous person to don it is safety Patrick Chung. Chung took it in 2014 after returning from his one-year stint in Philadelphia, and subsequently developed into one of the best safeties in football as well as a cornerstone member of three championship teams. If Kyle Dugger can come even close to this production, the Patriots can feel very good about their former second-round investment.
25 — RB Brandon Bolden
Most recently worn by: Terrence Brooks
Most prominently worn by: Larry Whigham
Traditionally a number for defensive backs, Brandon Bolden will try to give No. 25 it a positive offensive connotation as well after moving over from No. 38. Among others, the 25 jersey belonged to the likes of Ross O’Hanley (1960-65), John Charles (1967-69), Rick Sanford (1979-84), Patrick Chung (2009-12), Kyle Arrington (2013-14), Eric Rowe (2016-18) and Terrence Brooks (2019-20). Its most famous wearer, however, might have been Larry Whigham: the former fourth-round draft pick appeared in a combined 114 regular season and playoff games for the Patriots between 1994 and 2000.
30 — S Adrian Colbert
Most recently worn by: Jason McCourty
Most prominently worn by: Mosi Tatupu
Adrian Colbert’s number has a long history in New England: 15 different players have worn it in a game for the team, including Super Bowl-winning defensive backs Duron Harmon (2013-17) and Jason McCourty (2018-20). If there is one player associated with it, however, it is running back Mosi Tatupu. The former eighth-round draft pick appeared in 201 games for the organization between 1978 and 1990. While mostly a role player, Tatupu was a cornerstone of those Patriots teams — and even mentioned on a classic episode of The Simpsons in 1992.
34 — RB Tyler Gaffney
Most recently worn by: Rex Burkhead
Most prominently worn by: Chuck Shonta
While it has recently developed into a running back number due to the likes of Sammy Morris (2007-10), Shane Vereen (2011-14) and Rex Burkhead (2017-20), no player appeared in more games for the Patriots wearing No. 34 than Chuck Shonta. The defensive back played in 107 games for the club between its inaugural season in 1960 and the 1967 campaign. Shonta registered 15 interceptions along the way and was voted to a Pro Bowl.
46 — LB Raekwon McMillan & LS Wes Farnsworth
Most recently worn by: Cassh Maluia
Most prominently worn by: James Develin
While 11 players have worn the No. 46 jersey in a game — including standout tight end Marv Cook during the first two seasons of his career (1989-90) — the number can only be associated with one man. James Develin might not have put up the impressive numbers, but as the Patriots’ fullback helped them win three Super Bowls during his six years wearing No. 46. Along the way, he appeared in a total of 96 games while donning that jersey.
48 — LB Harvey Langi
Most recently worn by: Michael Pinckney
Most prominently worn by: Tim Fox
The last player to wear No. 48 in a game for the Patriots, is also the one who just received it again: Harvey Langi, who wore it for one contest during his 2017 rookie campaign. But even though it has been a rather obscure number lately, it does have one prominent wearer in its history in the form of defensive back Tim Fox. Between 1976 and 1981, Fox appeared in 93 games for New England and registered 18 interceptions. The one-time Pro Bowler was one of the better safeties in the league during his stint with the Patriots.
51 — LB LaRoy Reynolds
Most recently worn by: Ja’Whaun Bentley
Most prominently worn by: Jerod Mayo
Even though 23 different Patriots have worn No. 51 in at least one game, Jerod Mayo stands out among them: the current assistant coach spent his entire eight-year playing career between 2008 and 2015 donning the jersey, and proved himself one of the better linebackers in football before injuries forced him into an early retirement. Journeyman special teamer LaRoy Reynolds matching Mayo’s contributions — two Pro Bowls, one All-Pro nomination, one Super Bowl — is unlikely.
53 — LB Kyle Van Noy
Most recently worn by: Josh Uche
Most prominently worn by: Tom Addison
Even though Kyle Van Noy helped the Patriots win two Super Bowls while wearing No. 53, the free agency returnee is not the only star linebacker donning the number. Tom Addison wore it for 108 games and four Pro Bowl nominations between 1960 and 1967. Chris Slade played even more games than that — 134 — as the No. 53 from 1993 to 2000. Larry Izzo won three Super Bowls in New England as a core special teamer between 2001 and 2008. Long story short, 53 is a storied number.
55 — LB Josh Uche
Most recently worn by: John Simon
Most prominently worn by: Willie McGinest
Despite giving No. 53 to Kyle Van Noy, Josh Uche will continue to wear a jersey with plenty of history. The number, after all, was owned by the likes of Don Blackmon (1981-87), Junior Seau (2006-09), Brandon Spikes (2010-13) and John Simon (2018-20) through the years. However, the most famous among past 55s is Willie McGinest: a three-time Super Bowl winner and the league’s all-time leader in postseason sacks, McGinest was a core member of the early-dynasty Patriots and appeared in 189 combined games for the organization between 1994 and 2005.
64 — G Alex Redmond
Most recently worn by: Ross Reynolds
Most prominently worn by: Richard Bishop
The past has not been kind to the No. 64 jersey, with no major contributors wearing it in over two decades. In fact, center Dave Wohlabaugh (1995-98) was the last regular starter to don it. Before him, two-way lineman Tony Sardisco (1960-62), offensive lineman Mike Montler (1969-72) and defensive lineman Richard Bishop (1976-81) also called the number theirs.
65 — C James Ferentz
Most recently worn by: Caleb Benenoch
Most prominently worn by: Houston Antwine
No. 65 also has had a quiet few years, with Damien Woody (1999-2003) the last starter to wear it. Back in the 1960s, however, it was the number of Houston Antwine: a Patriots Hall of Famer, Antwine appeared in 144 games for the organization between 1961 and 1971 and was named to six AFL All-Star games. He was one of the first true difference makers on the newly formed team, and remains one of the better defensive lineman in Patriots history.
66 — C Marcus Martin
Most recently worn by: James Ferentz
Most prominently worn by: Lonie Paxton
The Patriots’ starting center in Super Bowl 49, Bryan Stork (2014-15), wore No. 66. Former rotational linemen Paul Fairchild (1984-90) and Bob McKay (1976-78) did as well. Still, Lonie Paxton stands out among them despite his position of long snapper: Paxton played. the position for 156 games between 2000 and 2008, and helped New England win three Super Bowls.
67 — C Ted Karras
Most recently worn by: Jordan Steckler
Most prominently worn by: Dan Koppen
Two of the greatest offensive linemen in Patriots history donned the No. 67 jersey during their careers in New England: Dan Koppen wore it for 135 games and two Super Bowl wins (2003-11), while Bill Lenkaitis donned the number for 153 contests (1971-81). Other noteworthy players who called 67 their own were guards Josh Kline and Steve Moore, both of whom started multiple games over the course of their tenures in New England.
72 — OT Yodny Cajuste
Most recently worn by: Jermaine Eluemunor
Most prominently worn by: Matt Light
While Jermaine Eluemunor (2020) and Marshall Newhouse (2019 failed to return No. 72 to its past glory, the number has some prominence in New England’s football lore. Matt Light started 175 games — including three Super Bowl wins — while wearing it between 2001 and 2011, while Larry Eisenhauer donned it for 117 contests from 1961 to 1969. The number was also worn by the likes of Mel Lunsford (1973-80), Tim Goad (1988-94) and Akiem Hicks (2015).
77 — OT Trent Brown
Most recently worn by: Yodny Cajuste
Most prominently worn by: Nate Solder
Trent Brown is back in New England, and back in his old No. 77 jersey. He will therefore try to continue what has been a strong history of the number despite some recent misses (Michael Bennett, Yodny Cajuste). After all, 77 was also worn by long-time starting tackles Tom Neville (1965-77), Pat Harlow (1991-95) and Nick Kaczur (2005-09), as well as former first overall draft pick Kenneth Sims (1982-89). However, the most successful man to call it his own was Nate Solder: between 2011 and 2017, Solder appeared in 114 games for the Patriots and won two Super Bowls.
81 — TE Jonnu Smith
Most recently worn by: Lance Kendricks
Most prominently worn by: Randy Moss
Jim Colclough (1960-68) and Russ Francis (1975-80, 1987-88) had impressive careers in New England wearing No. 81, but there is only one player who comes to mind when thinking about that number: between 2007 and 2011, wide receiver Randy Moss was a spectacular presence in the New England offense. While he never won a Super Bowl, he helped the team finish the only 16-0 season in league history and set a new record with 23 receiving touchdowns in 2007. All in all, Moss appeared in 56 games as a Patriot and caught 271 passes. Jonnu Smith coming close to that production would be a major win for the team.
82 — WR Devin Smith
Most recently worn by: Jake Burt
Most prominently worn by: Vincent Brisby
While No. 81 has an impressive track record, No. 82 has been flying mostly under the radar over the past six decades of Patriots football. Wide receiver Vincent Brisby, who appeared in 89 games between 1993 and 1999, is probably its most famous wearer. Others of note to don the jersey include tight ends Jim Whalen (1965-69), Daniel Graham (2002-06) and Benjamin Watson (2019).
84 — WR Kendrick Bourne
Most recently worn by: Benjamin Watson
Most prominently worn by: Art Graham
While not as historically successful a number as other numbers in the 80s, the 84 jersey also had some productive carriers in the past: tight end Ben Watson donned it between 2004 and 2009, while wide receivers Shawn Jefferson (1996-99), Darryl Stingley (1973-77) and Art Graham (1963-68) all wore it before that. Graham’s production — 202 catches, 3197 yards, 20 touchdowns — stands out among the group.
85 — TE Hunter Henry
Most recently worn by: Ryan Izzo
Most prominently worn by: Nick Buoniconti
No. 85 has been hit and miss over the years. While some of the recent wearers include Ryan Izzo (2018-20), Kenbrell Thompkins (2013), Chad Ochocinco (2011) and Doug Gabriel (2006), it also has an impressive history: Nick Buoniconti laid the foundation of his Hall of Fame career wearing it between 1962 and 1968, while Julius Adams later called it his own between 1972 and 1985.
90 — DT Montravius Adams
Most recently worn by: Shilique Calhoun
Most prominently worn by: Malcom Brown
Malcom Brown helped the Patriots win a pair of Super Bowls during his four-year stint with the club (2015-18) and that alone qualifies him as the most prominent man to wear the 90 jersey in New England. Others to don it include linebacker George Webster (1974-76) as well as fellow defensive linemen Toby Williams (1983-88) and Chad Eaton (1996-2000).
92 — DT Davon Godchaux
Most recently worn by: Nick Thurman
Most prominently worn by: Ray Agnew
No. 92 has hit a dry spell as of late: Geneo Grissom (2015-17), James Harrison (2017), Jake Bequette (2012-13), Albert Haynesworth (2011), Eric Moore (2011), Gerard Warren (2010), Ron Brace (2009) and Santonio Thomas (2007) all wore the number rather unsuccessfully. The last true success story was Ted Washington back in 2003. Before him, Ray Agnew (1990-94) was probably the best player to wear it. Still, its history is a quiet one.
94 — DE Henry Anderson
Most recently worn by: Beau Allen
Most prominently worn by: Ty Warren
No. 94 does not have a proud 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 Anderson follows his lead rather than that of the other players to previously wear the jersey.
95 — DT Nick Thurman
Most recently worn by: Derek Rivers
Most prominently worn by: Chandler Jones
While former third-round draft pick Derek Rivers never lived up to his potential due to injuries, No. 95 has produced some solid impact players through the years. Led by Chandler Jones (2012-15), the group also includes fellow linebackers Roman Phifer (2001-04), Dwayne Sabb (1992-96) and Ed Reynolds (1983-91) as well as defensive tackle Henry Thomas (1997-2000). Also wearing No. 95 were one-year wonders Mark Anderson (2011) and Tully Banta-Cain (2005-06, 2009-10).