FRISCO, TX — When Jayron Kearse takes the field for the Dallas Cowboys in the regular season opener against the New York Giants, you won't spot him by looking for the No. 27 jersey — then or ever again. That's because the veteran safety opted to change his number this year, but not to the No. 0 as originally planned this past spring.
Kearse will now wear the No. 1 going forward. It carries a particular symbolism for him, one he believes will take his play to the next level this coming season.
"Back to my college days," Kearse explained. "It was a good time in college. I had a lot of good plays, so I'm trying to recapture that before this season starts. It's like when I first got here and I went from No. 32 to No. 27. It just felt good, mentally, like, 'Alright, I got my number back. I'm good.'
"So, now I'm in No. 1, and I'm hoping to take that next step. You can't miss a No. 1 on the field."
The 29-year-old is referencing his playing days at Clemson, where he was a star safety for the Tigers. Kearse finished his collegiate career with two separate nods as a First-Team All-ACC talent, as well as a Second-Team All-American.
He's since found a home with the Cowboys after joining the organization in 2021, landing a two-year extension in 2022, and working hard to earn a third contract that would keep him in Dallas beyond the 2023 season. The team recently fully guaranteed his $4 million salary for the coming season, adding good faith to the negotiation.
As for what's to come, effective Sept. 10, the former Tiger was asked if "Clemson Kearse" is back and in full effect for the Cowboys.
"Yes sir," he said. "Back at it."