Cowboys' Jaylon Smith Changes to No. 9 Jersey; 1st Player to Wear It Since Tony Romo

Adam WellsMay 25, 2021

CINCINNATI, OHIO - DECEMBER 13: Jaylon Smith #54 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates after beating the Cincinnati Bengals 30-7 at Paul Brown Stadium on December 13, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Thanks to the NFL's new jersey policy, Jaylon Smith is going to wear the number he used during his college years at Notre Dame. 

The Dallas Cowboys announced Tuesday that Smith will change his jersey from No. 54 to No. 9:

Dallas Cowboys @dallascowboys

New number this season for @thejaylonsmith 👀<br><br>Read more 📰⬇️

Smith will be Dallas' first player to wear No. 9 since Tony Romo retired after the 2016 season. 

Per ESPN's Todd Archer, Smith received Cowboys owner Jerry Jones' blessing to make the move, and Smith reached out to Romo about using the number. 

David Helman of Cowboys.com noted the team doesn't formally retire anyone's number, but some jerseys aren't assigned because they were worn by players who "reached an elevated status."

Helman cites No. 8 (Troy Aikman), No. 12 (Roger Staubach) and No. 22 (Emmitt Smith) as examples of numbers the Cowboys haven't assigned to anyone else since those players retired. 

Archer added that Smith had to pay "a mid-six-figure" price to make the switch because he must buy out the remaining inventory of No. 54 apparel, including jerseys and t-shirts. 

NFL owners passed a jersey rule in April that opened up new numbers to several position groups. 

As a linebacker, Smith now had the choice to pick a new number between 1-59 and 90-99. He previously used the No. 9 as a high schooler at Bishop Luers in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and for three years at Notre Dame from 2013-15.