It's jersey swapping season in the NFL as a wide array of players across the league are taking advantage of the newly relaxed number rules that have been put in place beginning this coming season. The latest is Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore, who announced on Friday that he'll be leaving his former No. 12 in the rearview mirror. Going forward, he'll be rocking No. 2 in Carolina.
The 24-year-old has rocked No. 12 throughout his first three years in the NFL after the Panthers selected him in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft out of Maryland. For the Terps, he donned No. 1, so he isn't going back to his college roots in the midst of this number change, which is something that has grown quite common among players making a switch this offseason. Instead, this switch is a nod to something further back in his childhood.
"(It) came about when I was in Little League," Moore told the official team website of switching to No. 2. "It was my first ever real number I had when I won a championship when I was 5 years old. I still have the same exact jersey."
Under this new rule change, wide receivers can wear any number between 1-49 and 80-89. Before, pass-catchers were only permitted to pick numbers between 10-19 and 80-89, leaving single digits strictly for quarterbacks, kickers, and punters.
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Meanwhile, this move may have been a costly one for Moore. For veterans to make a switch for the 2021 season, the NFL required players to buy out the remaining inventory of their old numbers from their official distributors. Given that Moore is a very popular receiver, he could be looking at quite the collection that he needed to pay off to pave the way for this switch.
"It wasn't hard, I think it'll be a good investment in the long run," Moore said. "I think single digits look good on me because that's what I wore my whole life. And plus, it's something new."
While this marks a change in how we'll see Moore on the field, here's hoping his play remains familiar. Already, the receiver has blossomed into one of the better players at his position in the league, posting back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. In 2020, Moore hauled in a career-high 1,193 yards receiving to go along with 66 receptions and four touchdowns.