While most of their upgrades came in the form of free agent signings, one particular addition actually has a bit of a history with the franchise.
We’re talking about Kyle Van Noy, who returned to the Patriots on a two-year deal after the Dolphins shockingly released him at the start of the new league year, just one year into the four-year, $51 million contract they gave him last offseason.
It goes without saying that Van Noy, who spent over three seasons with the Patriots spanning from 2016 to 2019, will go a long way towards helping the team rediscover their defensive identity, which was prevalent during their prime dynasty years.
As fans wait for the 30-year-old linebacker to suit up in a Patriots jersey again, they’ve been chomping at the bit to know what number he’s going to don.
Well, in a long-awaited reveal, he took to Twitter on Wednesday to disclose that he’s going to stick with No. 53.
Yes, even though there’s a whole new list of options available to players of all shapes, sizes and positions.
Kyle Van Noy revealed which jersey number he’ll wear for the New England Patriots.
Van Noy wore No. 53 during his first tenure with the Patriots and this lively tweet seems to confirm that he won’t be changing anything in his second go-round in Foxborough. This is fantastic news for fans who already purchased his jersey and didn’t go ahead and burn it the moment he signed with the division-rival Dolphins last offseason.
Somebody had to say it!
In all seriousness, you might think the former second-round pick didn’t have much of a decision to make here — why would he relinquish the number he’s sported for the last six years? — but the NFL actually gave him something to think long and hard about.
This week, league owners passed a rule that relaxed jersey restrictions. The rule, which was submitted by the Kansas City Chiefs, unlocks the number of positions that are eligible to sport single-digit numbers. Most notably, linebackers can choose between Nos. 1 to 59 and 90 to 99.
As Van Noy noted, he rocked No. 3 at BYU, where he really became a household name and bolstered his draft stock. He didn’t miss a start over his four years with the Cougars, compiling 226 tackles, 25 sacks, 11 passes defended, seven interceptions and five defensive touchdowns.
In other words, Van Noy would’ve been fully justified going back to his roots. In an awesome gesture for Patriots fans, however, he simply couldn’t help but respect the diehards who bought his jersey during his first go-around with the organization.
If that doesn’t encapsulate why Van Noy is so beloved in Foxborough, then nothing does.