The Kansas City Chiefs’ rookies have received the numbers they’ll be wearing for the 2021 NFL season, so feel free to place your first jersey orders.
Announced in tweets from the Chiefs’ official account, linebacker Nick Bolton will wear 54, center Creed Humphrey will wear 52, defensive end Joshua Kaindoh will wear 59, tight end Noah Gray will wear 83, wide receiver Cornell Powell will wear 14 and guard Trey Smith will wear 65.
Bolton moves from his college number, 32, to 54 — most famous in Kansas City for being worn by longtime great guard Brian Waters, who was a six-time Pro Bowler, two-time first-team All-Pro and the 2009 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year.
According to Harold Kuntz of Fox 4, Bolton said 54 is a family number and he wanted to continue the tradition.
Gray will wear Stephone Paige’s 83, moving from his collegiate 87 which is currently worn by Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.
Powell will take 14 shortly after it was vacated by Sammy Watkins, who played a major role in the Chiefs’ offense in the Patrick Mahomes era. Previously, 14 belonged to Chiefs Hall of Famer Ed Podolak.
There was an extra wrinkle in this year’s number-choosing process, and it started with the Chiefs. In April, the Chiefs proposed a rule change that would allow players at various positions to choose from a wider array of numbers. The NFL later approved the change, opening up the following options across positions:
RB, HB, FB, TE, WR: 1–49 and 80-89
DL: 50–79 and 90–99
LB: 1–59 and 90–99
In addition to the numbers for the newcomers, the Chiefs could potentially still have veteran players who choose to change their numbers thanks to the new rule-change, adopting a collegiate-style numbering system.