TAMPA — Bucs linebacker Devin White has received his first NFL lesson — that legacies last, and sometimes change is good.
White, the Bucs’ first-round draft pick, loved wearing No. 40 at LSU. On draft day, he wore a gold chain with a No. 40 medallion on the end, and presumed he’d be able to wear the number in Tampa Bay.
But No. 40 hasn't been worn since Mike Alstott retired. The number itself isn't officially retired by the team, but hasn't been issued in homage to Alstott, who is in the Bucs Ring of Honor.
Initially, the Bucs announced that White would be wearing No. 41, but when he arrived at rookie minicamp on Friday, he wore No. 45.
No. 40 remains out of circulation.
“For all that he did for this place,” White said of Alstott Friday, “him winning the Super Bowl, him really being a running back and not a fullback, him toting the rock like he did, he had his own legacy here and I’m not a person who wants to step in the way of somebody else’s legacy. Even though 40 means the world to me, but at the end of the day it’s not about the number that’s going to make me go out and get tackles and sacks and make big plays. It’s about me that’s going to do that.”
“A change is sometimes always good, and I feel like this was a good change, just because who I have to respect,” White said. “And someday maybe somebody will have to respect me that way. ... It wasn’t even no question about it. You see that number in that stadium and it’s the ultimate respect. He gets that. I’ve got to come make my way with this program and try to get on his level, and hopefully if I put in enough work, I’ll get on his level someday.”
Bucs rookie minicamp starts today and runs through Sunday.
In other number-related news …
No. 93 is in circulation, at least during rookie minicamp. The Bucs gave Gerald McCoy’s number to defensive lineman Derrick Calloway, a tryout player from Davenport (Mich.) University. As trade rumors have swirled, McCoy, a six-time team captain, has not been present at offseason workouts.
Considering that the Bucs have invited more than 50 rookies, some overlap in number assignments was inevitable. Rickym Holmes, a defensive lineman out of Benedict (S.C.) College, is wearing No. 90, Jason Pierre-Paul’s number.
The Bucs tend, however, to withhold the numbers of their more prominent veteran players. They have not assigned the numbers worn by Jameis Winston (3), Chris Godwin (12), Mike Evans (13), Justin Evans (21), Lavonte David (54), Shaquil Barrett (58), Alex Cappa (65), Ryan Jensen (66), Demar Dotson (69), Ali Marpet (74), Donovan Smith (76), Cameron Brate (84) and Carl Nassib (94).
Times staff writer Thomas Bassinger contributed to this report. Contact Eduardo A. Encina at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @EddieInTheYard.