What's in a number?
Eagles tell their stories
Walk around the Philadelphia area and you're bound to encounter a fan in an Eagles player's jersey. The number on that jersey is determined by Greg Delimitros, the team's director of equipment operations, now in his 13th year with the Eagles.
Delimitros starts with a 90-man roster and works within restrictions from the NFL, noting numbers that are off-limits by the league, and the need to satisfy the demands of some players who are more particular than others.
"I call those guys as soon as they get drafted, and I give them their options of what numbers are available," Delimitros said. "If somebody's gung-ho about a number and another player is wearing that number, depending who it is, then we can possibly swap out. Plus, you've got to go through league protocol."
The Eagles have formally retired Nos. 5, 15, 20, 40, 44, 60, 70, 92, and 99.
They also don't like to give away Randall Cunningham's No. 12. So that's 10 numbers that players cannot claim.
Then the NFL has restrictions by positions.
Quarterbacks, punters, and kickers must wear 1 through 19; running backs and defensive backs must wear 20 through 49; wide receivers can wear 10 through 19 or 80 through 89; tight ends can wear 80 through 89 with special exceptions for H-backs; offensive linemen can wear 60 through 79, although centers can be in the 50s; defensive linemen can wear 50 through 59, 70 through 79 and 90 through 99, and linebackers share the defensive line numbers but can also wear numbers in the 40s.
Some players want a number based on how it looks on them; others want it for a player they admired or a superstition; and some players just accept whatever Delimitros gives them. But the process is not simple, and in some cases, the number is significant.
Fans "have no idea," Delimitros said.
Here is the story on the number for every player on the Eagles: