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2021 OTAs

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Sterling Shepard changes number to honor late father


Wide receiver Sterling Shepard took advantage of the new rules regarding jersey numbers in the NFL. After wearing No. 87 from the time he was selected by the Giants in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Shepard switched this season to No. 3, which is what both he and his late father, Derrick Shepard, wore at the University of Oklahoma.

"It's something that means a lot to me," Shepard said Thursday at OTAs. "It's been a number that I've been since I was a little kid, after my father passed. He wore No. 3 in college. That's something that meant a lot to me, a lot to his teammates. I wanted to carry that on. When I came into the league, you couldn't get single digits. Whenever the rule changed, I was happy to grab that."

Last month, NFL clubs adopted six new playing rules and one bylaw. The most visible change fans will see on game days is the expansion of jersey number options for certain positions to the following:

  • Quarterbacks, punters, and placekickers: 1–19
  • Defensive backs: 1–49
  • Running backs, full backs, tight ends, H-backs, and wide receivers: 1–49 and 80-89
  • Offensive linemen: 50–79
  • Defensive linemen: 50–79 and 90–99
  • Linebackers: 1–59 and 90–99

Derrick Shepard, also a wide receiver, lettered at Oklahoma from 1983-1986. He went on to play 36 games in the NFL with Washington, Dallas, and New Orleans.

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