The Chicago Bears signed James Anderson over the weekend to fill the strong side linebacker spot and play alongside new teammate DJ Williams and longtime Bear Lance Briggs. There’s one small problem – Anderson wore #50 for the Carolina Panthers. Anderson hasn’t been assigned a uniform number with the Bears and it will be interesting to see if Hall of Famer Mike Singletary’s #50 will be made available to him.
It’s not like Anderson is a fly-by-night #50. He’s worn that number throughout his career in Carolina and his website and Twitter account include the number 50 in them. To my recollection, no one has worn #50 since Singletary’s crazed eyes were behind that number.
The Bears are in a tough situation. They’ve taken a bit of a PR hit with the decision to part ways with Brian Urlacher. They already have two jerseys in the 50’s retired – Butkus’ #51 and Bill Hewitt’s #56. Current players on the Bears roster don numbers in the 50’s – Costanzo (52), Briggs (55), Dom DiCicco (57), Jerry Franklin (58) and Patrick Trahan (59). I highly doubt the Bears would put #54 on anyone for a few years.
Nothing says the new linebackers have to wear jerseys in the 50’s, but that’s sort of the convention. JT Thomas wears #97 but that’s sort of the exception rather than the rule.
During an interview on The Score, Anderson said that if the number were available to him, he would contact Mr. Singletary to request his permission. Is it time to free up Singletary’s #50?
I remember seeing veteran Bears linebacker Jim Morrissey running around in Dick Butkus’ #51 in the late 80’s until the Bears finally wised up and retired it on a rain soaked Halloween night loss to the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football back in 1994. It still feels a little strange seeing Shea McClellin running around in Hall of Famer Dan Hampton’s #99. Am I just stuck in a time warp?
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