Hopefully you haven’t purchased a Jeff Okudah Detroit Lions jersey in the past two years.
In his rookie season, Okudah donned the number 30, but that lasted just a season when the 2020 third overall pick changed his number to 23 last spring.
Now, according to his Instagram page, Okudah will wear the No. 1 for his third NFL season. As Okudah highlights in a series of Instagram stories, No. 1 is the number he wore through most of his young career before heading to the big leagues.
Okudah was not able to wear the No. 1 during his rookie year due to league rules. But in 2021, the NFL loosened up number restrictions, allowing defensive backs to choose any number in between 1 and 49. They had previously only been allowed to wear 20 through 49.
Last year, it was veteran Quinton Dunbar who occupied the No. 1 jersey during training camp, perhaps preventing Okudah from making the transition then. Instead, he chose 23, but it was never revealed why. Interestingly, he didn’t sound interested in going back to No. 1 at the time.
Nah... you appreciate #’s differently when you get stuck in the #30 ball. https://t.co/k7J6vCAxYL— Jeff Okudah (@jeffokudah) April 8, 2021
Obviously, he could’ve transferred to No. 1 once the Lions released Dunbar, but he decided to stick with 23 going into the season. Of course, his 2021 season ended quickly after suffering a torn Achilles in Week 1.
Okudah is seeking to turn the page on a rough chapter of his career. He struggled in his rookie season under Matt Patricia, and after looking the part in training camp in 2021, the Achilles injury derailed his second year and potentially threatened his future.
However, Okudah appears to be well on his way through his rehabilitation, and the Lions expect him to be ready in some capacity for training camp this year. With a return to his roots on the jersey, let’s hope his game returns to form, as well.
UPDATE: Jerry Jacobs is now considering sliding into Okudah’s old number:
But I’m leaning more towards 39!!!!— Jerry Jacobs (@_luhjerry) March 10, 2022