Inside The Bills

Players’ original numbers

Posted by Chris Brown on June 17, 2011 – 8:32 am

As we cover the Untouchable Bills numbers on the home page of today, we thought we’d also take a look at some of the jersey numbers that some notable Bills wore prior to getting the number by which they’re most recognized.

We’ll start big with the team’s first Hall of Famer, O.J. Simpson, who wore another number prior to 32.

“O.J. was 33 initially,” said Bills equipment manager Dave Hojnowski. “I think he may have also worn 36 as well for a brief time. He almost got a completely different number because the head coach John Rauch wanted to make him a wide receiver instead of a running back.”

James Lofton, who joined the Bills in 1989 was another interesting case. He had worn 80 his entire career, but that wasn’t the case when he first arrived in Buffalo.

“He was 86 at first,” Hojnowski said. “He eventually got 80 from Flip Johnson.”

Bills all-time leading receiver Andre Reed was issued a horrible number for a wide receiver when he first reported to One Bills Drive.

“Andre was 46,” said Hojnowski. “When he first came in that’s what he got. He was a fourth-round pick and it was one of those minicamp numbers.”

Here is a rundown of some other Bills who wore another number prior to the one they are most identified with.

Cornelius Bennett was 97 before going to 55
Ryan Denney was 90 before becoming 92
Lee Evans was briefly 84 but got 83 eventually
Jabari Greer was 37 before he went to 33
Tony Hunter was 49 before he was 87
Harry Jacobs was 56 and 54 before becoming 64
Sammy Morris was 45, then 33 and finally 31
Jamie Mueller was 39 before going to 41
Mark Pike was 57 and then 94
Jay Riemersma was 49 before he was 85
Aaron Schobel was initially 95 before getting 94
John Tracey was 85 before taking 51
David White was 50 before becoming 51
Shaud Williams was 36 before going to 40
George Wilson was 15 and now is 37
Wil Wolford was 69 before going to 73
Kenyatta Wright was 57 before taking 98

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