FOXBORO – The New England Patriots rookies will no longer be subject to wearing jersey numbers in the 50s and 60s.
As the preseason opener kicks off on Thursday against the New York Giants, the fresh faces in Foxboro will be donning their real uniform numbers for the first time in their NFL careers.
These obscure numbers seem to grow on the players as the summer progresses, as wide receiver Tyquan Thornton, safety Brenden Schooler and cornerback Jack Jones have all expressed how they have gotten used to their first professional uniforms.
The rookies are not the only ones changing numbers. DeVante Parker, who came over in a trade with the Miami Dolphins, changed his uniform from No. 11 to No. 1, a sigh of relief for those who cringed at the sight of another player in Julian Edelman's (or in some fan's cases, Drew Bledsoe's) number.
Here are all the rookie jerseys as they are released on social media.
Cole Strange 69: The first-round selection will replace Shaq Mason at the starting left guard role and will now wear the same No. 69. He wore the annual No. 50 during training camp and will now be suiting up in his real game uniform.
Tyquan Thornton 11: Just like how one receiver changed from No. 11, a new one will wear it. Thornton, the fastest pass catcher in this draft, will be the first player to wear the jersey in a game since Julian Edelman in 2020. Kicker Riley Patterson wore in on the practice squad last season, but Thornton may change if a jersey opens up come September.
Marcus Jones 25: The fan-favorite to handle the punt return duties, the Houston rookie will be donning No. 25. Last worn by Brandon Bolden in 2021, the number has some strong ties to special teams in New England, something that Jones will be able to contribute during his first pro season.
Jack Jones 34: The second Jones that the Patriots drafted this year will be wearing a number that is most recognized for a Super Bowl champion. Rex Burkhead, who played four years in New England, grew a large fanbase with his No. 34, which will now be Jack Jones' number of choice. The Arizona State cornerback is fighting for a starting role, so expect to see some plays made by No. 34 in the secondary.
Pierre Strong Jr 35: The popular choice to replace recently-retired James White out of the backfield, Strong will don No. 35. The last running back to wear those digits was Mike Gillislee back in 2017 and he started his Patriots career off with a bang, so high hopes for the South Dakota State prospect. Michael Jackson Sr. also wore this number briefly during the 2020 summer.
Kevin Harris 36: The other rookie running back will be adjacent to his new teammate. Harris, coming from South Carolina, will be wearing no. 36, last worn by now-Indianapolis Colts LB Brandon King. King spent seven seasons in New England, but one of the best players in team history to wear that jersey was safety Lawyer Milloy back in the early-2000s.
Bailey Zappe 4: The rookie quarterback will be continue to wear his own college number. The former Hilltoppers gunslinger will be donning No. 4, last worn by Jarrett Stidham, who was traded this past offseason. Malcolm Butler currently wears No. 4 as well, so one of those will have to change prior to Week 1.
Jake Julien 9: The sole special teamer in this rookie class, Julien will share a number with Pro Bowler Matt Judon. No. 9 will be donned by the backup punter for the preseason and a callback to Corey Bojorquez, who was also a preseason punter wearing that same single digit.
Brenden Schooler 41: Last worn by Myles Bryant, who elected to switch to No. 27 this season, No. 41 will now be worn by Brenden Schooler. Schooler is a popular choice to make the opening roster because of his special teams abilities, but he could also find his way on the defense. Who knows, maybe he plays like another No. 41 Leroy Mitchell, who intercepted 10 passes back in the 1960s.
Chasen Hines 63: One of the two rookies who is wearing the same number from his time in training camp, the LSU guard will be wearing No. 63 this season. Now-teammate Yodny Cajuste used to wear that number earlier in his career and now Hines will wear it. Older Patriots fans may remember Joe Andruzzi donning that uniform during the Patriots' multiple Super Bowl runs.
Andrew Stueber 64: The only player we have not seen step on the field all summer, Stueber will be wearing No. 64 for the preseason. Hjalte Froholdt wore that number back in 2019-2020, as well as Alex Redmond, who spent last season on the practice squad. Stueber is still on the NFI list, so it might be some time before we see that number return to the field.
Kody Russey 66: Russey is the other rookie to wear his training camp number, No. 66, during the preseason. The former LA Tech and Houston center wore No. 65 during his collegiate career, but with James Ferentz already wearing it, No. 66 was the next best option. Paul Fairchild and Lonie Paxton are some of the best Patriots to suit up in the double sixes, so Russey has some ground to cover to match their production levels.
LaBryan Ray 74: Sharing a number with new offensive tackle Arlington Hambright, Ray will be wearing No. 74. A call back to Woodrow Hamilton, who was the last defensive lineman to wear that number. If both newcomers make the roster, expect one of them to switch. Ray wore a flew different numbers at Alabama, but No. 74 was not one of them.
Sam Roberts 96: After telling Patriots Country that No. 59, his training camp number, was "growing on him," the defensive lineman will be wearing No. 96. He wore No. 98 at Northwest Missouri State, but with Carl Davis currently wearing that number, the field goal blocking guru settled on the closest one available.
DaMarcus Mitchell 97: The first number to be announced was Perdue edge rusher/outside linebacker DaMarcus Mitchell, who will be wearing No. 97 for the preseason. Mitchell, an undrafted free agent, wore No. 64 during training camp and will compete for a spot on the defensive line this summer. No. 97, often given to a defensive tackle, has been a solid number for New England in the past. Dominant defensive linemen like Alan Branch, Jarvis Green and Ron Brace all wore the number. The most recent to wear it in a regular season game was Ufomba Kamalu back in 2018.
This story will be updated as new numbers are announced.