DeVante Parker is entering his eighth NFL season and it will be his first with the New England Patriots after coming over in a trade with the Miami Dolphins this offseason.
His arrival was marked with excitement because of the help he’ll hopefully provide Mac Jones in the passing game. His comments about leaving the Dolphins got others amped about the rivalry with Miami (he said he orchestrated a trade to the Patriots because that’s where he wanted to be).
But now? Uh, there’s some division. This week, it was revealed Parker would be wearing No. 11 in New England, which is the number he’s donned for his seven years in Miami. However, that also happens to be Patriots legend Julian Edelman’s number.
Edelman retired after the 2020 season and has spent time keeping in touch with the fanbase (and trolling them) while ensuring his bond with former teammate Tom Brady stays strong. He’s still adored by the folks in Foxborough, so you can imagine someone — especially a newcomer! — taking his number not too long after his abrupt retirement might upset a good amount of people.
However, it shouldn’t matter. Parker is a veteran who has proven to be a worthwhile talent in the league, and the Patriots have not retired Edelman’s number. It’s fair game. It’s not like he took Brady’s No. 12!
DeVante Parker took Julian Edelman’s No. 11 and Patriots fans are divided
Tight end Matt Sokol took Rob Gronkowski’s number! That’s arguably a bigger offense, since Gronk is a surefire Hall of Famer and arguably the best tight end to ever play the game.
Edelman, while tremendous in his own right, isn’t close to that status and seems to only be a shoo-in for the Patriots Hall of Fame. His number is by no means “off limits” in the short term.
Additionally, the Patriots have only retired seven numbers in the history of their franchise: Bruce Armstrong (78), Gino Cappelletti (20), Bob Dee (89), John Hannah (73), Mike Haynes (40), Lee Hunt (79) and Steve Nelson (57). Edelman’s toward the back of the line when you’re talking about modern Patriots (Brady, Gronk, Wes Welker, Willie McGinest, Mike Vrabel, Richard Seymour, Stephen Gostkowski, Adam Vinatieri?). You tell us. Many a legendary Patriot have come before Edelman.
The Patriots hardly retire numbers, and that’s partially because the franchise was largely a black hole from its inception in 1960 until Brady took over in 2001.
Whatever they have to do to change that after their two-part dynasty over the last 20 years, they have to figure it out … but at this point, nobody is untouchable at the moment except TB12.