FRISCO - Two of the Dallas Cowboys' most recognizable - and maybe polarizing - players of this era are crossing paths at Intersection No. 9.
Jaylon Smith is making a jersey switch, moving from No. 54 to No. 9, with ESPN reporting that the linebacker will "pay close to mid-six figures'' to buy out the current inventory of 54's on the NFL shelves. Smith apparently got the OK from its most famous owner, former QB Tony Romo.
Jaylon played with the idea earlier this spring ...
Any problem with that, Cowboys Nation?
Skill-position players (running backs, wide receivers and tight ends) can now wear single-digit numbers. Additionally, defensive backs and linebackers will be permitted to wear Nos. from 1 to 19.
Along with Smith, safety Donovan Wilson is switching to No. 6.
That will sell a lot of new jerseys (which is really what the league's owner care about) and will also stir up interest and "swag'' ... oh, and controversy.
Controversy, in the case of the Cowboys, because that No. 9 that Jaylon wore so victoriously as a Notre Dame linebacker - and as a high-school star - just so happens to be the same number former Cowboys quarterback Romo wore when he starred for "America's Team.''
We know that the Cowboys don't give away numbers 8, 12, 22 or 74. (See above). We know that the Cowboys have their tradition of giving away No. 88. (See below.)
Is Romo's No. 9 part of a new tradition like the former example? Part of a new tradition like the latter? Is the new NFL rule going to create a free-for-all? Does owner Jerry Jones want to sell even more No. 9 jerseys?
And then the two big questions that have obviously been dealt with ...
One: Jones is a Jaylon admirer. But Romo might literally be Jerry's all-time favorite player, an extended family member who - no joke - named his third son "Jones Romo.'' So No. 9 is a big deal.
Two: While Romo is a Jones fave, is he considered "iconic'' by Cowboys Nation? There are zero arguments about the legends that are Troy Aikman, Roger Staubach, Emmitt Smith and Bob Lilly; is Tony Romo one of them?
Or, just as Jaylon Smith can be a divisive subject for Cowboys fans ... was/is Tony Romo also the subject of endless bar-room debates?