The 2023 NFL season marks a fresh start for the recently reinstated Calvin Ridley in a number of ways. He will play for a new team for the first time in his career after spending the 2018-2021 seasons with the Atlanta Falcons following his selection as the 26th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft out of Alabama. The former first round pick will also wear a new jersey number for the first time in his NFL career after wearing 18 in each of his first four seasons. Furthermore, his jersey switch-up is historic, as Ridley appears to be the first player in the league to take advantage of Tuesday's NFL playing rules amendment that allows the use of zero (0) as a jersey number.
Excited to be the first @Jaguars player to wear zero - shout out to @JagsEquip! #ReadyToWork pic.twitter.com/MfympKGWSl— CALVIN RIDLEY (@CalvinRidley1) March 28, 2023
The Philadelphia Eagles proposed the rule amendment to the NFL's Rule 5, Section 1, Article 2 in their rulebook that stipulates what jersey numbers players can wear. Their proposal was approved Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix, Arizona. Now, any player can wear the number zero (0), and kicker and punters can wear any jersey number between 0-49 and 90-99.
Per Jaguars PR, via ESPN, here's a look at what Ridley will look like when he takes the field in 2023.
This rules.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) March 28, 2023
(📸: @JaguarsPR) pic.twitter.com/jnEZaa2LGz
New England Patriots cornerback Jack Jones also seems excited about the new rule, tweeting heart eye emojis and saying, "donut." He wore the No. 0 in college.
One day after the rule change was announced, the New York Giants revealed that newly acquired wide receiver Parris Campbell will wear the new allowed number.
Parris Campbell will wear No. 0 🔥 pic.twitter.com/H5HHsAkQLn— New York Giants (@Giants) March 29, 2023
However, the 2023 season won't be the first where NFL players wore zero. The numbers "0" and "00" used to be worn, most notably by Raiders Hall of Fame center Jim Otto and two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Ken Burrough. Otto rocked the double zero number for 14 seasons, from 1961-74. Burrough spent the majority of his career with the Houston Oilers, after being drafted No. 10 overall by the New Orleans Saints.
The last player to wear No. 0 was New England Patriots linebacker Bryan Cox, who wore the number 0 in the 2001 preseason, before switching his number in the regular season.
Back in 2020, the NCAA allowed for players to wear the single zero. The year after, the NFL made a jersey change, allowing wide receivers, running backs, linebackers and defensive backs to wear single-digit jersey numbers.