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NFL: Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith switches to No. 9

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Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith is switching from No. 54 to No. 9 for the upcoming season.

The No. 9 jersey was worn by former quarterback Tony Romo through his 14 years in Dallas and hasn’t been issued to a Cowboys player since he retired in 2017.

Smith, 25, wore No. 9 in high school and at Notre Dame, but switched to No. 54 in the NFL because the digits added up to nine.

A 2016 second-round pick, Smith briefly overlapped with Romo in Dallas.

Smith, a 2019 Pro Bowl selection, has played in all 64 games in the four seasons since he sat out 2016 recovering from torn ACL and MCL injuries he suffered in his final college game.

Changing numbers on short notice requires players to buy out existing inventory of their previous number, which cost the linebacker a sum in the mid-six-figures, according to ESPN.

Smith signed a six-year, $64 million extension with the Cowboys in 2019.

The NFL policy on uniform numbers for linebackers was changed during the offseason, clearing the way for the defenders to wear any number from 1-59 or from 90-99.

The numbers of former Cowboys greats Bob Lilly (74), Roger Staubach (12), Troy Aikman (8) and Emmitt Smith (22) have never been re-issued.

Safety Donovan Wilson is also switching from No. 37 to No. 6.

–Field Level Media

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