Cowboys' CeeDee Lamb Talked to Michael Irvin Before Choosing Jersey No. 88

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMay 22, 2020

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - DECEMBER 28: Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb #2 of the Oklahoma Sooners looks on from the sidelines during the game against the LSU Tigers in  the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 28, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

When the Dallas Cowboys drafted Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft, they gave him a choice of numbers: 10 or 88. 

Lamb initially picked No. 10. But after speaking with Michael Irvin—one of the elite wideouts of the past to wear the number, along with Drew Pearson and Dez Bryant—he made the switch.

"We talked about the tradition and the respect I had for him and that number," he told 105.3 The Fan on Thursday (h/t Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk). "Not about any pressure, but how much of an edge he's giving me by wearing that number. No matter where I look, when I see myself, I'm going to see 88. It's going to always remind me of who wore it before me."


The tradition of the @dallascowboys' No. 8️⃣8️⃣ will live on with CeeDee Lamb 🤩 (via @AmbarGarciaTV) https://t.co/8JCHDUgtc9

Lamb also spoke about appreciating the chance to wear a number with such a rich legacy in Dallas:

"Kind of going more in-depth with the situation, just kind of understanding the tradition and how much that number means to this organization, and then how much of a foundation that number holds itself—the great legends before me and what they've done with that number, it's kind of like, why not keep the tradition going, you know? Obviously, they didn't retire the number for a reason. So, just trying to keep the legacy of 88 going in Dallas."

Irvin is a Hall of Famer, Pearson was a three-time Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All-Pro selection and Bryant was a three-time Pro Bowler and one-time first-team All-Pro. If Lamb ever turns into a receiver anywhere near that level, it will be a coup for the Cowboys. 

Granted, in the short term, Amari Cooper will be the team's first option in the passing game. And Michael Gallup is good enough that Lamb could be Dak Prescott's third option, at least early in his career.

Jon Machota @jonmachota

Cowboys WR CeeDee Lamb on @1053thefan on what has helped him improve as a football player: “Really just accepting all criticism, staying level-headed and never really settling. I can always find something to work on in my game. I just try to always better myself.”

But his potential is immense. Last season for the Sooners he caught 62 passes for 1,327 yards and 14 touchdowns, his second straight season with at least 60 receptions, 1,100 receiving yards and double-digit touchdowns. 

Lamb carries a lot of responsibility on his shoulders wearing No. 88, but the Cowboys clearly feel he has the talent to bear that weight.