Jersey No. 85 for the New England Patriots franchise is about to receive a production boost.
No. 85 has yet to latch on with a receiver in Foxboro for an extended period. The trade acquisition of Ochocinco and departure of Randy Moss resulted in Aaron Hernandez changing numbers prior to 2011.
"As soon as [Ochocinco] came in, he was smiling, so I knew he was going to talk to me about the number," Hernandez said. "I obviously could have [said]: 'No, I don't want to give it up.' But I'm not that type of person. [No.] 81 was the jersey that I wanted when I came here, but [Randy] Moss had it, so it actually worked out perfectly." via ESPNBoston.com
As a rookie, Hernandez nabbed 45 receptions, six touchdowns and 563 yards as the first player to use No. 85 since Doug Gabriel in 2006. Lloyd is set to knock these numbers out of the park as he projects as the starting outside receiver in the Patriots' Super Bowl quality offense.
Jed Weaver (2004), J.J. Stokes (2003) and Jermaine Wiggins (2001) wore the number during New England's three championship seasons. Recent waiver wire claim and Super Bowl XLVI champion Jake Ballard wore No. 85 throughout his first two seasons with the New York Giants.
With Ballard unlikely to play in 2012 he likely lost the majority of his leverage on the jersey digits, making Lloyd's move possible. Lloyd previously wore No. 85 out of college with the San Francisco 49ers, but wore No. 88 in OTAs with New England.
As the dead time between now and the start of training camps on July 26 drags on, here's to hoping the offseason storylines get a bit more compelling than jersey number switching.