Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Rachaad White announced that he’s changing his jersey number, and in doing so he’s making a statement.
Say it with me kids, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are entering an offseason of change.
We’ve said it so many times that it feels like we’re in a Pink Floyd song, but the sweeping changes happening to the Bucs roster are already underway ahead of free agency starting in a few weeks. Tom Brady already retired, quarterbacks are being interviewed ahead of the NFL Draft, and guys like Leonard Fournette and Cameron Brate are being given pink slips.
The good times might not be over, but any success the Bucs have moving forward is going to look a lot different than it has the last three seasons.
One of those new changes is happening in the Bucs backfield. Like Brady, the departure of Fournette means Tampa Bay is losing one of its key starting pieces that helped the team win a Super Bowl back in 2020. Unlike Brady’s situation, there isn’t a void being left in the wake of Fournette hitting free agency.
Rachaad White is the leader in the clubhouse to assume the RB1 duties next season and settle into his role as the team’s starting running back. It’s something he not so subtly embraced this week when he announced he’ll be wearing a new uniform number next season.
Buccanners News: Rachaad White changes jersey number ahead of 2023 season
White announced the change on his Twitter account Friday, revealing that he’ll be wearing No. 1 next season in the Bucs backfield.
Let’s go ahead and read all the way into this, because it rules on so many different levels.
This is less White dancing on Fournette’s grave and more about him embracing the RB1 role that he’ll inherit next season barring some dramatic change this offseason. Tampa Bay is not in the market for a free agency running back to lead its depth chart, and while there are rumors of Bijan Robinson being the pick at No. 19 such a decision would be a mistake.
White has earned his role as the top back in Tampa Bay, and it’s the culmination of a journey that started when the team drafted him last season. He took over the Prince Who Was Promised role from Ronald Jones III, who proved to be a false prophet. Entering his second year in the league and assuming the starting role on an offense that has a lot to prove seems to put White in a fantastic position to succeed.
New offensive coordinator Dave Canales is looking to re-establish the Bucs running game next season, one that was among the league’s worst in 2022. He’s bringing in Skip Peete, the former Dallas Cowboys running back coach, to help him achieve that goal.
That means White will be working with the guy who helped unlock new depths of development to Geno Smith and the guy who turned Zeke Elliott and Tony Pollard into the most dangerous running back duo in the league.
Who wouldn’t change their uniform number to No. 1 after hearing that?