Why Falcons rookie Desmond Ridder changed No. 9 from Cincinnati

164220302 217 nfl at combine

Rookies don’t always get the jersey number they want in the NFL. Veterans will have the last word every time, but sometimes, there is some wiggle room. Players can buy numbers off their teammates if the pair can come to an agreement. And that was Desmond Ridder’s experience with changing his jersey from No. 9, which he wore at Cincinnati, to No. 4 in Atlanta, via Michael Rothstein of ESPN.

Essentially, it was a choice of three numbers for Ridder — 4, 13 or 16 — and he went with the single digit after wearing No. 9 at Cincinnati. He did try to get No. 9 from linebacker Lorenzo Carter — sending him a direct message after the draft asking for the number — but was quickly told no.

How fast was that shot down? It didn’t even get to the compensation portion of the conversation. Ridder said he knew there was a financial figure out there — but he didn’t even want to ask what it was.

“I’m a frugal guy,” Ridder said. “I think the number change can wait.” — Michael Rothstein

Ridder did a lot for himself and his school while donning No. 9 — totaling 10,239 passing yards and 87 touchdowns to only 28 interceptions throughout his four-year career with the Bearcats. He added another 29 touchdowns and 2,188 yards on the ground as well. Ridder also won the AAC Rookie of the Year, the AAC Offensive Player of the Year twice, and never lost a game at home. Moreover, he led Cincy to the College Football Playoffs — the first non-Power 5 program to do so.

Desmond Ridder is a special talent. And the football world recognizes that. Jim Nagy complimented the pick, Pro Football Focus was also very fond of Ridder, Ted Nguyen of The Athletic had Drake London and Ridder as two of his favorite scheme fits from the entire 2022 draft class, a former All-Pro receiver praised the Ridder pick, and Jordan Palmer said more of the same about the Cincinnati product.

When he takes over the reins, he’ll already have solidified himself as No. 4 in Atlanta.

Photographer: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire

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