Cowboys Will Dress Out A No. 9 For First Time Since Romo Retired

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The Dallas Cowboys will roll out a No. 9 jersey, and it won’t be Tony Romo donning it.

Instead, it now belongs to Jaylon Smith, a linebacker who has typically sported No. 54. This is news (we think) because no member of the Cowboys has worn No. 9 since 2016 — back when Romo had it.

“It’s a blessing and an honor to be able to carry on the 9 legacy,” Smith told reporters. “Tony Romo did an amazing job of just being elite and putting together great success for the Cowboys franchise. That’s the opportunity that the (Cowboys owner Jerry) Jones family granted me with wearing No. 9. “So it’s definitely a blessing.”

All of that is nice, but what also makes this story kind of neat is that NFL linebackers previously had been restricted to numbers 40 through 59. But thanks to NFL owners approving a change last month, linebackers can now also sport 1 through 39.

“Frankly, the players themselves like having the options,” NFL executive president of football operations Troy Vincent told reporters after the owners’ vote. “I know it is not what we are accustomed to seeing, someone on the line wearing a single digit, but I think it is fun.”

Smith was selected by the Cowboys in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of Notre Dame. He has started every game the past three seasons.

Smith wore No. 9 with the Fighting Irish.

“No. 9 is a part of me,” said Smith. “I’ve been wearing No. 9 since I was 9 years old — through Pee Wee, middle school, high school, college, All-American games, you name it.”

Written by Sam Amico

Sam Amico spent 15 years covering the NBA for Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports and, along with a few other spots, and currently runs his own basketball website on the side,

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