The New York Jets’ final releases allowed Whitehead to get his favorite digit back
Whitehead joined the Jets’ final preparations for their Sunday opener against the Baltimore Ravens (1 p.m. ET, CBS) bearing a new number, brandishing a No. 3 uniform as he took to Florham Park’s practice fields.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) September 5, 2022
It’s a return to familiar territory for Whitehead, who previously mentioned that No. 3 was his favorite number growing up. He tripled the digit at Pitt (where he followed in the footsteps of his cousin Darrelle Revis) with the No. 9 and since-retired NFL jersey number rules had him doubling up. The secondary defender wore No. 33 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, showcasing that number during the latter two years of his four-season tenure. His love of No. 3 never truly left, as he kept it on his Twitter handle.
Four-year kicker Bobby Howfield (1971-74) is likely the most accomplished name to wear No. 3 in Jets history, having finished second in the league in field goal percentage in 1972. Other notable bearers in green include Jay Feely, Kliff Kingsbury, Rick Mirer, Steve Weatherford, and current teammate Mike White. Whitehead couldn’t have it in the preseason as it was taken by since-released receiver Tarik Black (who nonetheless lingers on the practice squad).
With the NFL relaxing restrictions on jersey numbers, namely by allowing defenders to emulate their college days and wear single digits, few have taken better advantage of that than the Jets: Whitehead’s fellow veteran newcomer D.J. Reed takes over No. 4 while first-round rookie Sauce Gardner will rock the No. 1 jersey he was bestowed on draft night.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags