This year, running back Dalvin Cook has a different team and will be wearing a different number, at least one different than what he wore last season. Cook joined the New York Jets this week, signing a one-year deal reportedly worth up to $8.6 million.
On Thursday, Cook's agent Zac Hiller announced (via NFL Media) that the 28-year-old is going back to his old jersey number, No. 33. Cook seemingly confirmed the news on social media.
In the last two years, the NFL has changed the rules on what jersey numbers certain positions can wear. When the rules first changed and Cook had the chance to go back to his college number, he opted against it, because he would have had to buy out the No. 33 jerseys for sale. Looking at that $1.2 million price tag, Cook waited a year until the swap would come without a fee.
The No. 4 jersey is a tradition in his family. It's a number his older brother wore and one that his little brother, Buffalo Bills running back James Cook, wears as well. At the time of the switch, Dalvin Cook said he had made a promise to his late father to go back to No. 4 and win a Super Bowl for the Vikings.
"That number means a lot to me," Cook said last offseason when he announced the jersey change to No. 4. "I started playing football because of my bigger brother, and he wore number four and he was like a hero in my eyes when I seen him play football, so I tried to carry the legacy on because he switched sports and started playing basketball. I kept the number going, passed it on to my little brother and passed it on to my little cousins, and it's like a tradition in my family and a tradition back in Miami."
Last year, Cook said he was mentally better when he wore No. 4.
"Overall I think it's a better thing for my family and for everybody around here," he said (via SI.com). "They're going to see a version [of me] that you've never seen before. You're going to see something special."
The Jets and their fans are hoping the No. 33 can bring out the same fire in him that he had in Minnesota. The season with his most rushing attempts, yards, average yards per carry, rushing touchdowns, receptions and receiving yards all came while wearing No. 33 (2020)
On the Jets roster, they currently list cornerback D.J. Reed, who joined the team in 2022, as No. 4. Cook's number has recently been changed from N/A to 33 -- the same number as cornerback Jimmy Moreland, who did not make the 53-man roster in 2022. If Moreland survives final roster cuts this time around, he'll surely be donning a different number come Week 1.
The No. 4 jersey clearly has significance for Cook, but the No. 33 jersey must as well with him going back to it.