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Why is Hester still allowed to wear number 23?


Ben Schwartz

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I realize merchandising has got to be the reason the NFL hasn't forced him to change, but aren't they running a double standard then? For a league that is SO strict with uniforms, you'd normally see some kind of force by the league.

The answer is simple. Earlier this year, the league ruled that Hester doesn?t have to switch because No. 23 is an eligible number that will allow him to play receiver without reporting to the referee.

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How does that make any sense at all?

The only numbers that make a reciever eligible are 10-19 & 80-89...

The only reason he can still wear 23 is because he switched from mainly a CB to mainly a WR. Being a KR has nothing to do with it.

If you change positions, you don't have to change numbers, as far as I know.

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How does that make any sense at all?

The only numbers that make a reciever eligible are 10-19 & 80-89...

The only reason he can still wear 23 is because he switched from mainly a CB to mainly a WR. Being a KR has nothing to do with it.

If you change positions, you don't have to change numbers, as far as I know.

That is the explanation from both the Chicago Tribune and chicagobears.com. The date the stories were printed was April 30, 2009. The theme of the story was to the number change for Earl Bennett, but Hester was explained.

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How does that make any sense at all?

The only numbers that make a reciever eligible are 10-19 & 80-89...

The only reason he can still wear 23 is because he switched from mainly a CB to mainly a WR. Being a KR has nothing to do with it.

If you change positions, you don't have to change numbers, as far as I know.

He doesn't have to switch because its perfectly legal for a running back to line up as a WR. I remember when I was a kid the Chargers had a player named Rod Bernstine that kept his #82 jersey when he went from TE to fullback. Jim Jensen also wore #11 as a "H-Back" for the Dolphins, but I have no idea what that is, other than its apparently not the same as a halfback.

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How does that make any sense at all?

The only numbers that make a reciever eligible are 10-19 & 80-89...

The only reason he can still wear 23 is because he switched from mainly a CB to mainly a WR. Being a KR has nothing to do with it.

If you change positions, you don't have to change numbers, as far as I know.

He doesn't have to switch because its perfectly legal for a running back to line up as a WR. I remember when I was a kid the Chargers had a player named Rod Bernstine that kept his #82 jersey when he went from TE to fullback. Jim Jensen also wore #11 as a "H-Back" for the Dolphins, but I have no idea what that is, other than its apparently not the same as a halfback.

That's a white running back.

-For you tosh.0 watchers. :D

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Jermaine Phillips switched from DB to OLB (as of now for TB's injuries) and he's keeping 23. What's to say that the Saints might want to try Reggie Bush at QB and give him #5. Things aren't working out for his new QB position, so let's let him play RB...wearing #5 (it's just an example, it could be any rookie out there)? If you change, you should have to go by what the league mandates at that position.

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Jermaine Phillips switched from DB to OLB (as of now for TB's injuries) and he's keeping 23. What's to say that the Saints might want to try Reggie Bush at QB and give him #5. Things aren't working out for his new QB position, so let's let him play RB...wearing #5 (it's just an example, it could be any rookie out there)? If you change, you should have to go by what the league mandates at that position.

Teams have tried listing players at incorrect positions to let them wear a different number (Brian Bosworth is one that I know I've seen a source for), but the league doesn't allow that to happen if they know the team is just doing this to get around the rules. Hester was drafted as a DB/KR and played a little DB in his rookie year. So even though he is listed at WR now, he can still keep his number.

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I'm not convinced we really need to keep number assignment by position. If the NCAA allows you to pretty much wear any number without the referees getting too confused, doesn't it stand to reason that better referees, the ones employed by the better league, shouldn't be confused either?

ALTERNATE GAG POST: Hester still wears 23 because they told him to choose a receiver number himself. Because he can't count, you see.

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How does that make any sense at all?

The only numbers that make a reciever eligible are 10-19 & 80-89...

The only reason he can still wear 23 is because he switched from mainly a CB to mainly a WR. Being a KR has nothing to do with it.

If you change positions, you don't have to change numbers, as far as I know.

He doesn't have to switch because its perfectly legal for a running back to line up as a WR. I remember when I was a kid the Chargers had a player named Rod Bernstine that kept his #82 jersey when he went from TE to fullback. Jim Jensen also wore #11 as a "H-Back" for the Dolphins, but I have no idea what that is, other than its apparently not the same as a halfback.

I always thought that an H-Back was like a "tight-slot" guy. Basically like a tight-end that lines up in the slot, or even closer to the backfield and is used for blocking, pass catching, and occasional running inside. The Chargers had a really good one for a while (can't quite remember his name though... but he was listed on his football cards as H-B for his position.), and the Redskins in the early '90s used it (theirs was more blocking, while SD was more running). Kind of like if a tight end and a running back had sex, their kid would be an H-Back. Not really much use for it in most of today's offenses, though everything comes back around.

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How does that make any sense at all?

The only numbers that make a reciever eligible are 10-19 & 80-89...

The only reason he can still wear 23 is because he switched from mainly a CB to mainly a WR. Being a KR has nothing to do with it.

If you change positions, you don't have to change numbers, as far as I know.

He doesn't have to switch because its perfectly legal for a running back to line up as a WR. I remember when I was a kid the Chargers had a player named Rod Bernstine that kept his #82 jersey when he went from TE to fullback. Jim Jensen also wore #11 as a "H-Back" for the Dolphins, but I have no idea what that is, other than its apparently not the same as a halfback.

I always thought that an H-Back was like a "super slot" guy. The Chargers had a really good one for a while (can't quite remember his name though... harmon maybe?). Basically it's a running back who lines up closer to the slot and catches a lot of balls, runs slot-arounds, and can run inside. Not really much use for it in most of today's offenses, though everything comes back around.

That's exactly what it is. I think the H-Back might be coming back more in high school and college. The spread offense can use this position as a player that can catch a pass but also act as a fullback when there is only one back in the backfield.

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Same thing with Dallas Clark of the Colts. When he was drafted, the Colts were so deep at receiver that they didn't have any numbers in the 80s left. Clark took the number 44 during preseason, but was allowed to keep it even after the final roster cuts because 44 is a number an eligible receiver can wear.

Hester gets to wear 23 because it's A.) the number he was assigned upon entering the league, and B.) it's a perfectly acceptable number for an eligible receiver.

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Same thing with Dallas Clark of the Colts. When he was drafted, the Colts were so deep at receiver that they didn't have any numbers in the 80s left. Clark took the number 44 during preseason, but was allowed to keep it even after the final roster cuts because 44 is a number an eligible receiver can wear.

Hester gets to wear 23 because it's A.) the number he was assigned upon entering the league, and B.) it's a perfectly acceptable number for an eligible receiver.

Keshawn Johnson did the same thing with the Jets. He had always worn 19 and wanted to keep it but couldn't b/c at the time, receivers had to be in the 80's. It just so happened that when he got to Jets training camp as a rookie, all the 80's were taken, so he HAD to wear 19.

The opposite happened to Reggie Bush - you will recall that he wanted to continue to wear #5 but the NFL would not allow it.

Rob

PS - didn't there used to be a rule in the NBA about players not being allowed to wear a number where either digit was greater than 5? (i.e. 55 is ok, 46 is not because the second digit is greater than 5)

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PS - didn't there used to be a rule in the NBA about players not being allowed to wear a number where either digit was greater than 5? (i.e. 55 is ok, 46 is not because the second digit is greater than 5)

Nope. The NBA has never had that rule, it's the NCAA. The NBA allows any number between 00-99, it is just more common to see digits 0-5.

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How does that make any sense at all?

The only numbers that make a reciever eligible are 10-19 & 80-89...

The only reason he can still wear 23 is because he switched from mainly a CB to mainly a WR. Being a KR has nothing to do with it.

If you change positions, you don't have to change numbers, as far as I know.

You're missing the distinction between eligible numbers and position specific numbers.

He started at #23 since he was a CB; then he switched to WR, and even though 23 is not a number for a WR, it is still an eligible number for a skill position - so there is no compelling reason that he HAS to change to a WR number.

If he had been a LB #55 who switched to WR, he would have to get a WR number since #55 is not a number for an eligible receiver - he would have to report to the referee every time he lined up as an eligible receiver, like players do on tackle eligible plays!

An H-back is like a hybrid between a tight end and a blocking fullback. Rod Bernstine moved from tight end to halfback/running back; maybe he played some h-back during the transition - but an H-back wearing #82 wouldn't be weird at all, even if he lined up like a fullback, which h-backs and tight ends often do. His playing running back/halfback was what made it weird.

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