For the first time since 1973, players will be able to wear #0. It was a standardization of jersey numbers by position groups, allowing only quarterbacks, punters, and placeholders to wear single digits, but not the big nothing.
Now, players will be able to wear single digits as linebackers, defensive backs, receivers, running backs, and more while also bringing back #0. For the Falcons, that honor belongs to Lorenzo Carter, who donned #9 last year but decided to give it to Desmond Ridder this season. The Georgia native had a hilarious comment in his reasoning for choosing the number.
Carter liked it because “it holds some weight to it, definitely. You’ve got eyes on you.” Carter added that he saw fans tell him on social media “that’s how many sacks you’re going to have,” which he apparently thought was humorous.
According to ESPN, Carter did a bit of research on the number, which seems a bit pointless but nonetheless notable.
He also spoke with his sister, Larrisa, who had worked with the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers, so she helped him understand the importance of No. 0 because of NBA stars like Damian Lillard and Gilbert Arenas. She’s the one who made it clear to her brother “there’s a fraternity of zeroes, and zero in athletics is held high.”
One thing certainly is true — whoever wears #0 can’t be a fish. If you’re wearing that number and aren’t a competent player, you’ll be ridiculed, which Carter knows. “You got to bring it,” Carter said. “You got to earn that number and earn your right to wear that number.”
There were a ton of more worthy candidates in my eyes — Kyle Pitts, Bijan Robinson, Arnold Ebiketie, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Younghoe Koo. However, the number will likely be in good hands with Carter. He’s got a high floor, so there’s no chance he flops this season. Still, it would be hilarious if we saw someone like Keith Smith, the Falcons fullback, wear #0. That would’ve been my choice.
Next year, we will likely have a new #0, given Carter is on a one-year deal. I hope it’s someone a little more eccentric than Carter, who is by all accounts a great human being but a quiet personality. I need a big personality to wear #0.
Photographer: Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire