The Bengals acquired new players this off-season via free agency, the draft, and trade. These new players were recently assigned jersey numbers. Today we examine whether or not there is any coincidence of which numbers were assigned to certain players.
John Ross, WR | Jersey No.15
Former WRs: Chris Henry, Mario Alford
For me, #15 will always belong to the late Chris Henry. In my opinion, Henry’s jersey number should be retired. On the other hand, I could see this being done as a tribute to honor Slim. Mario Alford was clearly undeserving of the number, but hopefully, Ross can live up to the standard. I don’t think Ross would be assigned this number if the Bengals didn’t believe he was special.
Joe Mixon, RB | Jersey No.28
Former RBs: Corey Dillon, Bernard Scott
Joe Mixon initially was assigned #34, but according to Bengals.com, he has changed his number to #28. Every Bengals’ fan knows that number belonged to Corey Dillon. Although Dillon said he would have rather flipped burgers at McDonald’s than play for the Bengals, there’s no denying him as the best rusher in stripes. Bernard Scott also wore the number and was an electric running back for the Bengals during the mid-late 2000s. Assigning Mixon this historic number could mean that the Bengals believe he has potential to match the greatness of Corey Dillon.
Kevin Minter, LB | Jersey No.51
Former LBs: Takeo Spikes, Odell Thurman, Kevin Hardy
Minter was signed during free agency and wore the #51 in Arizona, but there is still something special about the number. Two standout middle linebackers for the Bengals also wore the number in Takeo Spikes and Odell Thurman. Hopefully, Minter can fill the void left by Thurman that the Bengals have been unable to recapture in the middle since Odell’s release.
Carl Lawson, LB | Jersey No.58
Former LBs: Rey Maualuga, Joe Kelly
Carl Lawson takes over the jersey worn by the recently cut Rey Maualuga. The Bengals held Maualuga in high regard and may admire Lawson as well. Lawson is expected to play the SAM linebacker position. This was a position many thought the Bengals would settle Maualuga in at.
J.J. Dielman, C | Jersey No.64
Former Cs: Kyle Cook
Kyle Cook rose up from the Bengals practice squad all the way up to the starter during the mid-late 2000s. Dielman may have been assigned Cook’s former number due to the Bengals seeing the potential in him to rise up to the starting position at center.
Josh Malone, WR | Jersey No.80
Former WRs: Chris Collinsworth, Peter Warrick
Josh Malone was also assigned a special number at the receiver position. Both Chris Collinsworth and Peter Warrick wore this number during their career. Malone and Collinsworth have one thing in common: speed. Peter Warrick was a solid receiver with a ton of potential and appeared to reach it in 2003 when he caught a career-high 79 passes for 819 yards and 7 touchdowns.
Jordan Willis, DE | Jersey No.99
Former DEs: Margus Hunt, Manny Lawson, David Pollack
#99 has had its share fare of disappointment from David Pollack and to Margus Hunt and will hopefully end with Jordan Willis. Obviously, former 2005 first-round pick David Pollack suffered a career ending injury before he was able to showcase his talent. Margus Hunt was a 2013 second round draft bust that ended his Bengals’ career with 1.5 total sacks. The Bengals likely hope that Willis will become the explosive edge rusher they believed Pollack and Hunt would both become.