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Patriots linebacker Josh Uche will wear a new jersey number this season

Related: Expanded use of jersey numbers among approved rule changes for upcoming season

NFL: NOV 29 Cardinals at Patriots Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With Kyle Van Noy returning to the New England Patriots after a one-year stint in Miami, the man who succeeded him in terms of jersey number has elected to make a change: fellow linebacker Josh Uche has given up the No. 53 jersey that will now belong to Van Noy again. In turn, the second-year defender will wear No. 55 moving forward

Uche announced the change via an Instagram post titled “New era”:

Josh Uche/Instagram

Uche joined the Patriots as a second-round selection in last year’s draft and ended up playing 178 defensive snaps over nine games as a rookie. Primarily used as an edge linebacker in the mold of Van Noy, he showed some promise but struggled with injuries.

Heading into Year 2, Uche will be part of an edge group consisting of him and Van Noy as well as Matthew Judon and Chase Winovich. With the youngster now taking No. 55, the door also appears to be closed for its previous owner to return to the fold: John Simon had donned that jersey number between the 2018 and 2020 seasons but currently remains an unrestricted free agent.

As for Uche, he has switched jersey numbers before. Upon arriving in New England he was given No. 71 in training camp — a number reflective of his draft status as the second player picked by the team (the highest selection, Kyle Dugger, was given No. 70). He moved to No. 53 before the start of the regular season. Now, that jersey moves back to Van Noy with him taking over Simon’s old No. 55.