Donald Driver is the last Green Bay Packer to wear #80 ... until now. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Green Bay Packers odds and ends: Numbers and capital letters


The Green Bay Packers are preparing for the arrival of rookies to town today with the start of the orientation session this week. In all, there will be more than 30 new faces arriving today and tomorrow, which brought to the forefront a couple of items this morning, such as the distribution of numbers to the rookies and head coach Mike McCarthy’s promise about the defense – in capital letters.

One of the hot topics this morning on Twitter was the fact that the Packers, for the first time in two years, have distributed the #80 jersey – this time to undrafted free agent rookie tight end Justin Perillo.

It’s certainly not important news, but worth noting. With Donald Driver as the last to wear the number and with Hall-of-Famer James Lofton also a #80 alumni, there haven’t been a whole lot of notables to wear the number the past 30 years, unless you want to consider wide receivers Frankie Neal, Charles Jordan and Derrick Mayes, and tight ends Clint Didier and Jackie Harris as important.

Yes, the Packers feted Donald Driver with a retirement party and he had a street named after him and a statue refurbished in his likeness, but there has never been a promise that his number would be retired.

The Packers haven’t issued numbers like 21 (Charles Woodson) or 65 (Mark Tauscher) for a year after they left the team out of respect for their years of service, but those numbers are also now back in circulation.

The only number that has recently been out of circulation and isn’t likely to be brought back is #4 – and we all know the history surrounding that digit. Even rookie draft pick Jared Abbrederis, who wore #4 at the University of Wisconsin, understands that he won’t be wearing that number as a Green Bay Packer. He grew up in Wisconsin as a Packers fan during the days when Brett Favre was the most famous man in the state.

The only numbers retired are Tony Canadeo’s #3, Don Hutson’s #14, Bart Starr’s #15, Ray Nitschke’s #66 and Reggie White’s #92.

Rob Demovsky over at just issued this information about all of the rookies and their numbers … interesting stuff.

Here’s a look at them and their numbers:

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (first-round pick)

  • Uniform number: 21
  • Last player to wear 21Charles Woodson (2006-12)
  • Other notable players to wear 21Craig Newsome (1995-98), Bob Jeter (1963-70), Verne Lewellen (1927)*

WR Davante Adams (second round)

  • Uniform number: 17
  • Last player to wear 17Craig Hentrich (1994-97)
  • Other notable players to wear 17: David Whitehurst (1977-83), Jerry Tagge (1972-74), Travis Williams (1967)*, Cecil Isbell (1938-42)

DT Khyri Thornton (third round)

TE Richard Rodgers (third round)

  • Uniform number: 89
  • Last player to wear 89James Jones (2007-2012)
  • Other notable players to wear 89Mark Chmura (1993-99), Dave Robinson (1963-72)

OLB Carl Bradford (fourth round)

Corey Linsley (fifth round)

  • Uniform number: 63
  • Last player to wear 63Jeff Saturday (2012)
  • Other notable players to wear 63Scott Wells (2004-11), Adam Timmerman (1995-98), James Campen (1989-93), Fuzzy Thurston (1959-67)

WR Jared Abbrederis (fifth round)

  • Uniform number: 84
  • Last player to wear 84D.J. Williams (2011-12)
  • Other notable players to wear 84: Bill Schroder (1997-2001), Andre Rison (1996), Sterling Sharpe (1988-94), Carroll Dale (1965-72), Gary Knafelc (1954-62)

CB Demetri Goodson (sixth round)

  • Uniform number: 39
  • Last player to wear 39Trevor Ford (2009)
  • Other notable players to wear 39Mike Prior (1994-98)*, Darrell Thompson (1990-93), Clarke Hinkle (1933)*, Cal Hubbard (1930)*

WR Jeff Janis

*Wore multiple numbers with the Packers

Head coach Mike McCarthy is trying to get a handle on his team's injuries.

Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy.

Mike McCarthy’s promise

Over the weekend, head coach Mike McCarthy said that with the moves the Packers made in free agency and as well as the additions made to the team over the weekend through the draft that Green Bay’s defense is going to be better … and he said that reporters could write that in “capital letters.”

Well, thanks for the insight, Mike.

First of all, the Packers defense was the target for improvement this entire offseason. It’s no secret that the team’s D needed an upgrade – something the Packers have addressed.

Clearly, if the Packers defense doesn’t improve, its coordinator, Dom Capers, will probably be shown the door. He has a number of better tools in which to plug into his system this year.

With capital letters, we can only say to McCarthy’s statement: “WE HOPE SO!”

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