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John Ross’ change goes beyond the number on his jersey

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John Ross is starting his third season in the NFL by giving his jersey a makeover, but he is hoping that he presents a completely different player to the fans as well.

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Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals

Wide receiver John Ross made some news earlier this offseason when his No. 15 jerseys went on sale, and a photo of him wearing No. 11 surfaced.

However, we saw him wearing 15 again during minicamp. This series of events just helps illustrate the complicated logistics of a player changing their number, as Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic explains:

Well, this process isn’t as easy as one would think. In order to switch jersey numbers, you have to buy out all the No. 15 jerseys in stock anywhere from the NFL. You’re stuck with the number until you do.

It is probably something that most of us didn’t know about, and certainly makes changing numbers for players with their jerseys on sale in the store that much more complicated and costly.

It should also be noted that Ross is also making the name on the back of his jersey “Ross III,” so it does go beyond the number. It is clearly something that players take pretty seriously. It seems whenever you ask a player about their number there is a story behind it, so it shouldn’t be surprising that they are willing to pay for it.

There will certainly be people who never understand actually paying money to change something like the number someone wears when they play football, but it is hard to imagine those people don’t also have something they’re excited about getting to spend their money on at some point in their life as well.

For Ross, this seems more like a shot at a fresh start.

“I felt like, this is my third year, I get a chance to re-invent myself and re-create some of the old me,” Ross said. “I kind of wanted to basically start everything over. I get to put Ross III on the back of my jersey and get to change the number. Hopefully, just change the whole year.”

Ross has had a rough start to his career, and he really didn’t gain much of a following after his rookie season that was troubled with injuries in which he failed to record a single reception. He followed that up with a better season last year where he scored seven touchdowns, but he still only caught 21 passes for 210 yards.

It is hard to produce when you are operating as the fourth or fifth option for an offense. By the time guys like Tyler Eifert and A.J. Green were done for the season and Ross was set for a more prominent role, Jeff Driskel was thrust into the starting lineup. It is no secret that confidence has played a huge part in Ross’ struggle as well, so if changing his jersey helps in anyway, then Cincinnati should be all for it.

Hopefully, this season with a coaching staff that views him as a weapon instead of a decoy to help get others open Ross can finally become the player we’ve all been expecting, waiting and hoping he could become.