Marquise Brown’s jersey number switch earns mixed reviews

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The Baltimore Ravens have seen a few of their players switch jersey numbers in the last few days in the aftermath of the NFL easing restrictions on what certain positions can wear. Linebackers Patrick Queen and L.J. Fort were two of the Baltimore players to move off of their old numbers for new ones, but it was wide receiver Marquise Brown who caused the most controversy with his decision to switch.

Brown made the decision to move on from No. 15 in favor of No. 5, which hasn’t been worn by a Ravens player since former Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco donned it during his decorated Ravens career. Brown’s jersey switch caused quite a bit of controversy among fans, as some viewed the move as disrespectful to Flacco while others thought it wasn’t a big deal.

Plenty of people made their opinions known about No. 5 and whether Baltimore should have let Brown wear it. For those who feel that the whole situation isn’t a big deal, many believe that it isn’t disrespectful for the team to let another person wear Flacco’s number. Others argued that he shouldn’t be in the same breath as other Ravens greats such as Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Jonathan Ogden and more, therefore being content with No. 5 being up for grabs.

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The other side of the argument is that since Flacco did so much for the franchise and also delivered a Super Bowl championship to Baltimore, his number shouldn’t be worn by any other Raven.

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While the Ravens haven’t officially retired any jerseys, there are certain numbers that won’t ever be worn again, such as No. 52 and No. 20. Flacco’s No. 5 was widely debated as a number that could have been added to that list, but ultimately the team decided to give it to Brown, who will look to continue the already storied history of the jersey.

It’s rare that a player changing numbers causes such an enormous amount of controversy. However, the debate about whether to retire the No. 5 jersey is one that has sound arguments for both sides. While Flacco was a mainstay at the quarterback position for years in Baltimore and won countless playoff games wearing purple and black, the back-half of his Ravens career wasn’t spectacular.

Each side of the debate can argue fair and valid points. It was a bit surprising to see the team give up Flacco’s No. 5 to Brown, but clearly the number means a lot to the wide receiver. He wore it during his days at the University of Oklahoma, but couldn’t keep it during his first few years in the NFL due to the old jersey restrictions. Just because Brown will be donning Flacco’s old jersey number on game days doesn’t mean that everything that the quarterback did for Baltimore is suddenly irrelevant. Flacco was the one who made the No. 5 storied within the Ravens’ franchise. It’s now Brown’s turn to continue it’s legacy.