If you expected No. 11 to retire along with Julian Edelman in New England, you'd be mistaken.
The jersey number worn by the Patriots wide receiver during his illustrious 12 seasons in Foxboro has been assigned to kicker Riley Patterson, who joined New England's practice squad Tuesday.
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Edelman stepped away in 2020 as one of the best wide receivers in franchise history and should be a lock for the Patriots Hall of Fame. As ESPN's Mike Reiss pointed out Wednesday, though, it's unlikely the Patriots retire any uniform number outside quarterback Tom Brady.
In that context, No. 11 actually was Patterson's only option: Kickers are allowed to wear Nos. 1 through 19, and the only two uniform numbers available in that range were 11 and ... 12.
Still, seeing a No. 11 on the field without "Edelman" on the back would be a strange sight for Patriots fans. While Nick Folk is the team's clear starting kicker, the veteran has been battling a knee injury for several weeks and was listed as questionable for last Sunday's game.
That explains why the Patriots added Patterson, an undrafted free agent out of Memphis who worked out for New England earlier this month. So, if Folk is forced to miss a game, we could see the return of No. 11 in New England -- at a very different position.
UPDATE (3:25 p.m. ET): Julian Edelman has entered the chat.
Here's Edelman's humorous response to seeing his number get taken Wednesday: