O.J. Simpson’s history with the Buffalo Bills is complicated. To say the least.
Simpson is one of the greatest players in Bills history. He’s one of the greatest running backs ever. He’s also infamous, of course. He was found not guilty in the double-murder criminal trial of Ron Goldman and his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson. In a civil trial, Simpson was found liable for the killings and a judge ordered Simpson to pay $25 million to the families. Simpson would later spend time in a Nevada prison on an unrelated crime.
As the Bills have tried to dodge their history with Simpson, a curious side note emerged: Simpson’s No. 32 was never retired by the team. Yet, since Simpson’s last Bills season in 1977, it hadn’t been reissued either.
That changed this offseason, as another Bills player was given No. 32 for the first time in 42 years.
O.J. Simpson’s Bills number back in circulation
Tim Graham of The Athletic wrote about the Bills reissuing No. 32 for the first time in more than four decades. Running back Senorise Perry is wearing No. 32 as the Bills go through their offseason program.
“Whatever they do is fine with me,” Simpson told Graham in a phone interview. “That’s how I feel. When I played there, I tried to honor the team. Since I left, I always tried to honor the Bills.
“And, to be honest, it’s not something I think about. There’s too much else going on in life.”
Perry has played 48 NFL games between the Dolphins and Bears, mostly on special teams. He said he had worn No. 32 most of his life, but assumed it was retired in Buffalo. Perry told Graham he was told it was available, and took it.
Simpson has unusual history with Bills
Perry isn’t guaranteed to make the Bills. If Perry doesn’t make the roster, technically Simpson will still be the last player to wear No. 32 for Buffalo.
But now that No. 32 is back in circulation, other players presumably will ask for it. They’ll have to consider that the uniform number will get more attention than any other they could ask for, but the legacy might not matter as much to players born in the late 1990s. After a while, it might not be shocking to see a Bills player wearing No. 32.
Even if we see someone else wearing No. 32 for the Bills, the complicated history behind Simpson and the Bills will never fade.
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