After an injury-filled 2020 season, Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey is looking to prove that he is still one of the best players in the league this fall. It doesn’t sound like he’ll be taking advantage of the NFL’s new policy on jersey numbers.
With the new rule, players have access to more numbers. Running backs are now allowed to wear single digits, as they are in college. That has a number of star backs considering a move back to those jersey numbers.
Of course, because of the existing inventory of jerseys, players who switch this year will have to buy out the existing ones on the market. Christian McCaffrey explored the possibility of moving from No. 22 back to the No. 5 he wore at Stanford, but he won’t do it, at least this year.
According to The Athletic’s Joe Person, he looked into the possibility of making the switch, and what it would cost him, and elected to punt on the decision this year. He may still do it ahead of the 2022 season.
Christian McCaffrey said he’s sticking with No. 22 this year, left open the possibility of switching to 5 next year. Said he checked on the price of what it would cost to buy up all the 22 inventory.
— Joe Person (@josephperson) May 25, 2021
In that No. 5 for the Cardinal, McCaffrey was one of college football’s most dangerous all-around weapons. He put up 2,664 all-purpose yards and 13 touchdowns as a sophomore, rushing for 2,019 on the season. The following year, he had another impressive 1,913 all-purpose yard season, with 16 total touchdowns.
Of course, he’s done it all as a Panther in No. 22 as well. In 2019, he ran for 1,387 yards and 15 touchdowns, and added another 1,005 receiving yards and four scores.
If he puts up a big bounceback season in 2021, he may want to just stick with what’s working as well. Pro athletes are notoriously superstitious about their jersey numbers.