A New Orleans Saints player has changed his name ahead of the 2020 NFL regular season.
Professional athletes changing their name doesn’t happen often, but there have been several notable cases. Cassius Clay changed his name to Muhammad Ali, Lew Alcindor changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Ron Artest changed his name to Metta World Peace and Chad Johnson changed his name to Chad Ochocinco, among others.
A Saints defensive back is joining that list.
C. J. Gardner-Johnson, a safety for the New Orleans Saints, has changed his name to Ceedy Duce. He announced the change on social media on Sunday.
“Time to pave a way for my own. Imagine that I want no more judgment, thoughts on me because you don’t really know me. Until you understand me as a person I won’t speak unless spoken to,” Duce wrote on Instagram.
Filed under things you didn’t expect to see today. Saints safety Chauncey/C.J. Gardner-Johnson announces he’s changed his name to Ceedy Duce. pic.twitter.com/FTy7AXvEhj
— John Hendrix (@JohnJHendrix) August 9, 2020
Duce, 22, played collegiately at Florida. He was one of the top defensive recruits in the country coming out of high school in the Sunshine State.
The 5-foot-11 defensive back was a fourth-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft out of Florida. He had a strong rookie season, totaling 49 tackles, eight pass deflections and one interception.
New Orleans is scheduled to open the 2020 season on Sunday, Sept. 13 against Tampa Bay.