Newly signed Patriot responds to heckling from fans over jersey number

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Now that most of the most legendary members of the Patriots roster during the dynasty years have moved on to other teams or retired, new players coming to the team are able to choose their jersey numbers as their own.

Because of the unprecedented success New England achieved and the many names that became fan favorites, there are several numbers that fans have deemed untouchable for incoming signees, making them off limits until they're retired.

For the most part, we can collectively agree that Tom Brady's famous 12 is not to be used ever again by a Patriot player and based on what we've seen in the years since he left the team, the staff agrees with that sentiment.

However, when it comes to other players' numbers, like Julian Edelman (11) and Rob Gronkowski (87), Their numbers haven't been treated the same as Brady's, with Tyquan Thornton taking the receiver's number and now newly signed tight end Mitchell Wilcox being awarded Gronk's.

Newly signed Patriot responds to hate from fans over jersey number

Upon hearing the news regarding Wilcox's number, Patriots fans have not been too thrilled, taking to social media to express their disdain, which got back to him one way or another.

He addressed the negativity with a post on Twitter earlier this week, sharing his appreciation for Gronkowski and clarifying how he wound up with the legendary tight end's jersey number.

"I will be the first to say that Gronk's (number) should sure as hell be retired. Had a Gronk poster in my room growing up so salute to the TE. Didn't choose it, it's what [the equipment team] had for me & I'm thankful to be part of the (organization)."

It's a shame that some fans gatekeep so much that Wilcox's first welcome to Foxboro was a barrage of negativity over a jersey number.

Although fans have the right to want the number retired since Gronk was an integral part of the second half of the Patriots dynasty, it's inappropriate to send any hatred toward Wilcox for using the tight end's number.

Hopefully, his response to the controversy will settle things down and force those fans to move on because it's nothing that serious. It doesn't take away from what Gronk contributed during his time in New England, nor is it disrespectful for his number to be given to a new player.

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