FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Morris Claiborne was hoping to get the same uniform number he wore in Dallas after signing a one-year deal with the Jets in the offseason.
Claiborne wore No. 24 when he was with the Cowboys from 2012-16, but the Jets weren’t willing to give him Darrelle Revis’ old number, even though the Jets released the former All-Pro cornerback in the offseason.
“I definitely asked for 24, because that’s the only number I know,” said Claiborne, who signed a one-year, $5-million deal with the Jets. “I’ve had 24 since I came into the NFL. But I understand the history behind that number.”
Claiborne wasn’t fazed by the idea of wearing the same number as the greatest cornerback in franchise history, even if it meant following in Revis’ footsteps.
“A lot of people said, ‘Do you want that number? You have some really big shoes to fill?’ Yeah, you’re right, but I’m not coming to fill Revis’ shoes. Revis’ shoes are filled, and then some. I’m here to fill my own shoes.”
Claiborne, who now wears No. 21, said he understood the team’s decision not to give out Revis’ old jersey, which leaves open the possibility the Jets might one day retire the number. Claiborne said the team did not divulge exactly what its plans are for uniform No. 24.
Claiborne looks forward to the opportunity with the Jets, after a five-year career in Dallas that was marked more by frequent injuries than interceptions. He never played a full season and missed a combined 26 games over the previous three seasons.
“That’s been the thing, staying healthy,” said Claiborne, who has four career interceptions. “That’s been my past, and I accept it. I wouldn’t have it any other way, because each one of those things I’ve been through in my career that had me pushed back, I’ve learned a great deal from it all.
“If I could go back and do it all over, I’d take it just the way it is. I feel like I’m in a good opportunity and a good space right now to take advantage of where I’m at right now. The goal and the plan each and every year is to stay healthy and stay on the football field for 16 games and give people the corner that the Jets are taking a chance on.”