NFL Rumors: Anquan Boldin Changing Jersey Number For Detroit Lions Legend Calvin Johnson

Jersey numbers are a pretty big deal to NFL players. According to the Detroit Free Press, Anquan Boldin will be changing jersey numbers. Instead of wearing his usual #81, he will be switching to #80 out of respect to Calvin Johnson, who decided to retire from the National Football League due to health concerns.

Since joining the NFL, Anquan Boldin has worn #81. That was his jersey number with the Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, and San Francisco 49ers. With the Detroit Lions, though, Boldin will be sporting a different number out of respect to someone that was his peer in the National Football League.

Much to the surprise of many in the NFL, Calvin Johnson decided to retire, as reported by ESPN. The legendary wide receiver cites all the damage that has been done to his body. Some believe that he no longer wants to take the risk because the Detroit Lions are not serious contenders.

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The retirement of Calvin Johnson reminds many Detroit Lions fans of the way that Barry Sanders walked away from the NFL. Sanders, one of the best running backs in history, had grown tired of not being able to contend for the Super Bowl. He even walked away before beating the rushing record held by Walter Payton.

The NFL is a business, so teams do not have time to mourn the loss of a player to retirement. You simply need to find people that can get on the field and provide some sort of production. Calvin Johnson cannot be replaced, but the Detroit Lions have to try.

After Calvin Johnson made his announcement, the Detroit Lions signed Marvin Jones, as reported by ESPN. The former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver is expected to start opposite Golden Tate. Jones proved that he could capitalize from playing across from AJ Green by taking advantage of defenses being so focused on the other receiver.

Detroit Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones Marvin Jones [Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images]With NFL defenses focused on Marvin Jones and Golden Tate, a veteran like Anquan Boldin could have a tremendous season. There are not a lot of nickelbacks that can handle the physicality and guile of someone like Boldin.

In addition to trying to help make up for the production left behind by Calvin Johnson, Anquan Boldin will also be tasked with trying to replace some of the leadership that the Detroit Lions lost. Boldin was very good in that role when he was with the San Francisco 49ers.

One of the reasons why Anquan Boldin chose to sign with the Detroit Lions was because of his relationship with head coach Jim Caldwell. The latter was the offensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens when the former was a starting wide receiver there. The two of them won a Super Bowl together that year.

Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate Golden Tate [Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images]Jim Caldwell is already familiar with Anquan Boldin, so he already has a couple of ideas on how to use the 35-year-old wide receiver. Thus far in training camp, Boldin has been utilized as a slot wide receiver. At 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds, Boldin will be utilized much like a tight end at times.

Of course, Jim Caldwell could just be doing this to throw off other NFL teams. Anquan Boldin still has the ability to play wide receiver on the perimeter. If they move him around, it makes life that much harder on opposing defensive coordinators. It might just be the advantage that the Detroit Lions need to stay competitive.

It was only a matter of time before Anquan Boldin found a new home in the NFL after putting the San Francisco 49ers in his rear view mirror. The veteran waited for the opportunity with the Detroit Lions.

[Photo by Thearon W Henderson/Getty Images]