Patriots Had Good Reason For Giving Julian Edelman’s Number To Kicker

The team didn't have many options


October 20, 2021

Kicker Riley Patterson was assigned a notable jersey number when he joined the New England Patriots’ practice squad.

Patterson, who signed Tuesday to provide depth behind 36-year-old Nick Folk, will wear No. 11, according to ESPN’s Mike Reiss.

That, of course, is the same number surefire Patriots Hall of Famer Julian Edelman sported throughout his playing career.

Giving a practice squad kicker Edelman’s old number might raise some eyebrows, but the Patriots didn’t have many options for Patterson. Kickers are required to wear a number between 1 and 19, and the only ones in that span not already taken by another member of the roster, practice squad or injured reserve were 11 and 12.

The latter, last worn by some guy named Tom, likely will be the Patriots’ first officially retired number since Bruce Armstrong’s No. 78.

The NFL’s newly relaxed guidelines now allow almost any player (other than offensive and defensive linemen) to wear numbers previously reserved for kickers, punters and quarterbacks. Several Patriots linebackers and defensive backs jumped at the chance to switch, resulting in a current roster that looks like this:

1. WR N’Keal Harry
2. DB Jalen Mills
3. K Quinn Nordin (IR)
4. QB Jarrett Stidham (physically unable to perform list)
5. QB Brian Hoyer
6. K Nick Folk
7. P Jake Bailey
8. LB Ja’Whaun Bentley
9. OLB Matt Judon
10. QB Mac Jones
11. K Riley Patterson (practice squad)
12. Vacant
13. DB Elijah Benton (practice squad)
14. QB Garrett Gilbert (practice squad)
15. WR Nelson Agholor
16. WR Jakobi Meyers
17. WR Kristian Wilkerson (practice squad)
18. ST Matthew Slater
19. WR Malcolm Perry (IR)

New England has not taken any dynasty-era uniform number out of circulation. Even Rob Gronkowski’s No. 87, which wasn’t given out in 2019 or 2020, now belongs to rookie practice squad receiver Tre Nixon.

Thumbnail photo via USA Today Sports Images
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