However, this upcoming season, the former Notre Dame star will change his number to former quarterback Tony Romo’s old No. 9 jersey, and he will have to pay big money in order to do that.
The Cowboys announced on Tuesday that Smith will make the number change and it will come at a mid-six-figure cost, ESPN reported citing multiple sources. In order to make the move, Smith had to buy out the current inventory of No. 54 jerseys and t-shirts, which were the rules put into place by the NFL.
If Smith waited another year and changed his number in 2022, it wouldn’t have cost him any money.
“It’s about value over cost,” Smith said via ESPN.com. “Definitely a blessing being able to play for the Dallas Cowboys, so working out the terms the right way. Really, I’m just thankful to be in the No. 9 and have an opportunity to turn this thing around this year. We’re all here focused. We’re locked in, and we know what we need to accomplish.”’
ESPN reported that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones allowed Smith to make the number change, and the linebacker actually reached out to Romo himself and talked to him about the decision to switch his jersey.
“First and foremost, it’s a blessing and an honor to be able to carry on the 9 legacy,” Smith said via ESPN. “Tony Romo did an amazing job of just being elite and putting together great success for the Cowboys franchise. As you know, new players coming in, always getting an opportunity to sometimes carry on [the] legacy. That’s the opportunity that the Jones family granted me with wearing No. 9, so it’s definitely a blessing.
“It’s been a part of my life. I’ve been wearing No. 9 since I was 9 years old, through pee wee, middle school, high school, college, All-American games, you name it. No. 9 is a part of me. It’s really just a blessing to be able to continue the legacy.”