Hunt could reunite with Toledo jersey number after NFL rule change

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Kyle Rowland, The Blade, Toledo, Ohio
·2 min read
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Apr. 22—If you're in the market for a Kareem Hunt jersey, you might want to wait.

Chances are he will be getting a new number, one University of Toledo fans will certainly recognize.

The NFL this week decided a rule preventing certain positions from wearing single-digit numbers will be relaxed. The new rule will allow running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, linebackers, and defensive backs to wear single digits, paving the way for some of the league's most high-profile players to make number changes.

Previously, only quarterbacks, kickers, and punters could wear single digits.

Hunt has worn No. 27 for the Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns. At Toledo, the record-setting tailback was No. 3.

And he's indicated that a change could be imminent.

In an Instagram post, Hunt responded to a photo of himself in a No. 3 Browns jersey. He may have company, however, because teammate Odell Beckham, Jr., also wore No. 3 in college.

Hunt also wore No. 3 at South High School in Willoughby.

The rules restricting numbers for certain positions is to help officials. Offensive linemen, for example, can only wear Nos. 50 to 79 so referees can easily identify if there is an ineligible man downfield on passing plays.

The impetus for the change came from the Kansas City Chiefs, which lobbied for skills players and defenders to wear single digits because it doesn't impact offensive linemen.

If Hunt does bring back his No. 3 jersey, he might have to pay for it.

Per NFL rules, if a player requests a number change for the upcoming year, and there is inventory of unsold jerseys featuring his current number, the player must purchase unsold jerseys before the number change happens. If the player declines to do so, he can remain in the current number and change the following year without cost.

Hunt earned All-Mid-American Conference honors three times. His five rushing touchdowns in the 2015 GoDaddy Bowl tied a bowl game record set by Barry Sanders. Hunt also rushed for a career-high 271 yards in the victory over Arkansas State. He is UT's career rushing leader (4,945 yards) and third all-time in the MAC.

During his rookie season in 2017, Hunt led the NFL in rushing yards, garnering rookie of the year and Pro Bowl accolades.

First Published April 22, 2021, 12:12pm