Ja’Whaun Bentley first Patriots player to switch jersey number under new rules

The NFL is allowing several positions to wear single-digit jersey numbers now.

You won't be seeing Ja'Whaun Bentley wearing No. 51 this upcoming season. AP Photo/Elise Amendola

When the Patriots’ defense takes the field next season, fans might be caught a bit off guard to see a player wearing a single-digit jersey number.

Linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley is the first Patriots player to take advantage of the NFL’s new jersey number rule. He is swapping No. 51 for No. 8 this season, he shared on Twitter on Friday.

In April, the NFL announced a rule that allows linebackers to wear any jersey number between 1-59 and 90-99. In addition, players from all positions except for offensive and defensive linemen can wear a jersey number between 1-19.

Even though the new rule benefits some players, it was met with some pushback. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick reportedly “hates” the rule and Tom Brady went on a social media rant to share his displeasure over it.

Bentley wore No. 4 during his college days at Purdue. Brian Hoyer wore No. 8 for the Patriots last season. Quarterback Jake Dolegala, who was on the Patriots’ practice squad for most of last season, is the last player to wear No. 8 for the Patriots.

The Patriots have yet to share the jersey numbers for the players they signed and drafted this offseason.

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