Falcons’ Gurley to wear No. 21 against Deion’s wishes

New Atlanta Falcons running back Todd Gurley has elected to wear jersey No. 21 this season, much to the chagrin of Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders.

Gurley acknowledged that Sanders asked him not to wear the number with the Falcons.

«Prime was hating on me. He told me don’t wear it,» Gurley said in an interview with 92.9 The Game in Atlanta. «If I was Prime, I wouldn’t want nobody wearing my number either.»

The decision is a curious one for Gurley, who wore No. 30 during his five NFL seasons with the Los Angeles Rams. He also wore No. 3 in college while at Georgia and No. 1 at Tarboro High School in North Carolina.

Per franchise policy, the Falcons do not retire numbers of past players.

Cornerback Desmond Trufant wore No. 21 for the past seven seasons in Atlanta since being selected in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Trufant, who was cut by the Falcons in March, has since signed with the Detroit Lions.

Gurley, 25, was released by the Rams after a steep drop-off in production in 2019 and questions about the health of his left knee, in which he has an arthritic condition.

A former All-American at Georgia, Gurley rushed for a career-low 857 yards last season. He rushed for 5,404 yards and 58 touchdowns while adding 218 receptions for 2,090 yards and 12 scores in 73 games with the Rams.

Sanders, nicknamed «Prime Time,» wore the No. 21 during his time with the Falcons (1989-93), San Francisco 49ers (1994), Dallas Cowboys (1995-99) and Washington Redskins (2000). The eight-time Pro Bowl selection elected to wear No. 37 after returning from a three-year retirement with the Baltimore Ravens in 2004-05.

–Field Level Media