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C.J. Gardner-Johnson says he won’t be changing his jersey number

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So there’s one mystery solved ahead of New Orleans Saints training camp. C.J. Gardner-Johnson announced Friday on Twitter that he won’t be switching up his look following the NFL’s relaxed jersey numbers rules, which follows his earlier interest in setting his No. 22 aside for the newly-available No. 1.

According to Gardner-Johnson, he now feels that he’d rather stick with his current number if has to compete with a teammate for the No. 1 jersey. It’s unclear who he would be competing with for that unique designation, with one of the obvious candidates already giving him his blessing — All-Pro return man Deonte Harris (No. 11, who wore No. 1 at Assumption College) deferred to him in a social media back-and-forth.

It’s good news for any fans who have already purchased his jersey. Gardner-Johnson also directed followers toward the online NFL Shop, where his No. 22 is officially available (though away-game white and Color Rush variants aren’t on tap yet).

The third-year pro was a fan favorite at Florida, and it hasn’t taken long for him to endear himself to Saints fans. Gardner-Johnson is one of the better slot defenders you’ll find around the league and his habit of trash-talking opponents is, well, refreshing to see after New Orleans was antagonized by rivals like Steve Smith and Roddy White over the years. The fact he got multiple opponents ejected from games last year speaks for itself.

For now, nothing has changed on the Saints’ website roster, but they haven’t updated listings following minicamps earlier this summer. Three tryout players who were signed haven’t yet been assigned roster numbers, while Harris is still listed at No. 11 and Gardner-Johnson at No. 22. No one is listed at No. 1. We’ll have to wait until the Saints open training camp and release media rosters to clear up who is wearing what, though we know which numbers the Saints rookies have chosen. Stay tuned up for updates.

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