The NFL numbers game: What the rookies will wear

QB Sam Bradford will be wearing no. 8 for his rookie season. (Jeff Roberson / Associated Press)

Top overall draft pick Sam Bradford will be wearing No. 8 for St. Louis (via the team’s official Twitter site) this season. But why not his familiar No. 14 he wore at Oklahoma? That number is already being used by WR Keenan Burton.

Yes, Burton of the 38 career receptions. Seriously, 38 receptions? Bradford will likely surpass that number in the millions with his signing bonus.

But instead of doing one of those deals where Bradford could have paid for the number, or maybe waiting to see if Burton even makes the roster, the former Heisman Trophy winner went with a number close to his heart, No. 8. Bradford told the Associated Press that he wanted to honor former Oklahoman Troy Aikman, who like Bradford, was a top overall pick.

St. Louis fans obviously are rooting for similar results.

Whether you want to race out to NFL Shop or if you want to update your roster on Madden, some of the top draft picks revealed what number they will wear in the NFL:

  • Tim Tebow met with the Denver press on Friday, and held up a No. 10 jersey. But don’t fret, those of you in Florida who have already ordered a Tebow Broncos jersey. Tebow will wear his familiar No. 15, which was vacated when Brandon Marshall was traded to the Dolphins according to the Sun Sentinel. Say, maybe that is why the Broncos were so hyper to deal the enigmatic receiver. Coach Josh McDaniels just wanted to clear that number.
  • New Cowboys WR Dez Bryant will wear No. 88, according to the Dallas Morning News. The same number worn by Hall of Famer Michael Irvin and perhaps future Hall of Famer Drew Pearson. No pressure, Dez. What is interesting to note here (as Vin Scully would say), No. 88 also was worn by former Lions draft pick Mike Williams, who like Bryant, enters the NFL under dubious circumstances. Just saying.
  • Chargers RB Ryan Mathews wore No. 21 in honor of LaDainian Tomlinson in high school and at Fresno State. But the man drafted to replace Tomlinson will not wear No. 21 for the Chargers out of respect, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. Instead, Mathews is leaning towards No. 33. Mathews could always call LT and ask for permission to wear No. 21, but given Tomlinson’s sandy remarks about the Chargers recently, that is probably not a good idea.
  • Ndamukong Suh will wear No. 90 for the Lions (via the team’s Twitter account). The Associated Press reports that RB Jahvid Best will wear No. 44. Which seems more suited for a fullback.
  • Chiefs safety Eric Berry is going to honor former Volunteers safety Inky Johnson by wearing No. 29, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel. Johnson suffered a devastating shoulder injury in 2006 and was a coach for the Volunteers.
  • Cardinals DT Dan Williams will wear No. 92, according to the team’s official Web site. Williams wanted his college No. 55, but that was not happening with Joey Porter on the roster. Williams instead chose to honor another Volunteer, Reggie White, who wore No. 92 and went on to a Hall of Fame career.
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