The NFL is comprised of 32 professional football teams, each
When a legendary or popular athlete retires, their team usually retires their number as a tribute. But sometimes other athletes come along and request to wear a retired number as their own way to pay tribute or homage. Here are 9 jersey numbers that were unretired.
1. Chicago Bulls #23. When Michael Jordan came back to the NBA after retiring in 1993, the Chicago Bulls already retired #23, which forced Jordan to take up #45 instead. During a rocky season back, Michael Jordan unretired #23. The NBA fined him $100,000 for changing his number in the middle of the season.
2. Denver Broncos #18. When Peyton Manning came to the Denver Broncos in 2012, he wanted to wear #18 like he did with the Indianapolis Colts. The number was retired because it once belonged to quarterback Frank Tripucka, who was the Broncos quarterback for the team’s first four seasons. The Broncos unretired the number with Tripucka’s blessing. “It’s perfectly OK for him to go ahead and use it,” said Tripucka, “I would be honored to have him wear it.”
3. Seattle Seahawks #80. The Seattle Seahawks retired #80 because it belonged to wide receiver Steve Largent. But when Jerry Rice signed with the Seahawks, he asked Largent if he could wear #80. Largent agreed.
4. Montreal Expos #8. The Montreal Expos retired catcher Gary Carter’s #8, but when the team moved to Washington D.C. they unretired all of their retired numbers, including good ol’ #8.
5. New York Giants #14. Halfback Y.A. Tittle wanted to wear #14 when he arrived to play for the New York Giants, but it was retired, once belonging to Ward Cuff. The Giants let him wear the number anyway, but now it’s officially retired for both players.
6. Vancouver Canucks #11. Some say the Canucks are cursed because Mark Messier wore the retired #11 without asking the family of Wayne Maki, who died in a car accident. The Canucks never made the playoffs with Mark Messier on the team.
7. Chicago White Sox #11. Omar Vizquel wore #11 as an homage to Luis Aparicio, the first MLB Venezuelan Hall-of-Famer. Aparicio gave Vizquel his blessing to wear the number. “If there is one player who I would like to see wear my uniform number with the White Sox,” he said, “it is Omar Vizquel.”
8. Philadelphia 76ers #32. The 76ers retired #32, but when Magic Johnson announced he was HIV positive, Charles Barkley brought the number out of retirement during his final season with the 76ers to support his friend.
9. Winnipeg Jets #9. Brett Hull wore his father Bobby Hull’s #9 when he played for the Arizona Coyotes, which used to be the Winnipeg Jets. “I want Bret Hull to have as much fun wearing No. 9 as I… [did] when I played with Winnipeg,” Bobby said.