CINCINNATI — Jessie Bates was arguably the Bengals' best player in 2020.
The 24-year-old had 109 tackles (two for loss), three interceptions and 15 passes defensed. He was named to the AP's All-Pro Second Team.
His stellar play over his first three seasons isn't stopping him from considering a change.
"I NEED THAT #3," Bates tweeted on Wednesday after the NFL owners passed a rule that loosens restrictions on jersey numbers.
The new rule allows defensive backs and linebackers to wear any number from 1 to 49. Running backs, fullbacks, tight ends and wide receivers can all wear 1 to 49 and 80 to 89.
That means Bates can change his number from 30 to 3, which is what he wore in college at Wake Forest.
Kicker Austin Seibert currently has number 3, but that might not stop Bates from getting the number if he really wants it.
Players have to buy the remaining inventory of their existing jerseys if they wish to change their number for the 2021 campaign, but that shouldn't be much of a problem for Bates.
The Bengals' new uniforms were released on Monday and the Pro Shop is still in the process of getting Bates jerseys in stock.
He may have to buy some of his jerseys, but it might not cost much. Don't be shocked if the star safety is wearing number 3 when the season starts.
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