Joe Tryon is receiving a hero's welcome from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, not only as their recent first-round draft pick but as a numerical trailblazer for the Super Bowl champions.
The former University of Washington player will wear his college jersey No. 9 into pro football battle, thanks to a recent NFL rule change permitting outside linebackers such as him to choose a single digit.
Tryon will become the first defensive player in Tampa Bay franchise history to wear a single-digit number, according to the team.
Had the Bucs designated him as a defensive end, Tryon would have been forced to don a number between 50-79 or 90-99.
Asked about this by the media on draft day, Tryon brightened at the chance to retain his football number into the pros.
"It's a possibility, it's a possibility," he said. "Definitely."
While the ex-Husky defender is a test case for the franchise, this development is notable because Tampa Bay's legendary quarterback Tom Brady has openly criticized the change, promising it will lead to confusion.
"Good luck trying to block the right people now!!!!" he tweeted. "Going to make for a lot of bad football."
Brady, of course, wears jersey No. 12 for the Bucs, leaving him just three digits from Tryon on the roster.
Back at Washington, starting quarterback Dylan Morris still wears No. 9 on the offensive side, while Texas A&M outside linebacker Jeremiah Martin shares it on the defense by inherited Tryon's shirt.
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