Back to his roots. That's what New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard decided to do in giving up his jersey number 87, which he's worn since entering the NFL in 2016, and switching to jersey number 3, which he wore during his college career at Oklahoma.
Shepard made the announcement via his Instagram account with a Photoshopped picture showing him sporting the new number. He captioned the photo "Getting back to my roots #dadumbwayyy"
The NFL approved jersey expansion number usage starting this year, which will allow for more players who had to abandon their college numbers to get back to their roots. The expanded listing is as follows:
- QB/P/K: 1-19
- RB: 1–49, 80-89
- TE/FB: 1–49, 80-89
- WR: 10-19, 80-89
- OL: 50-79
- DL: 50-79, 90-99
- LB: 1–59, 90–99
- DB: 1–49
The jersey number expansion rule was initially proposed by the Kansas City Chiefs and was fueled by expanded practice squad rules from last year in which some clubs had some jersey number assignment issues.
Players who switch their jersey number this year must buy out any remaining inventory of unsold jerseys with his current number on the team. However, players who wait until 2022 can switch their numbers without having to write a check to cover the cost of existing inventory.
Shepard, whose late father Derek also wore No. 3 when he attended Oklahoma, is the first Giants veteran known to have changed his jersey number for the coming season.