When an all-time great leaves a franchise, it’s customary to hold his number out of action for at least a while.
The Colts aren’t doing that with Dwight Freeney's 93.
Free-agent outside linebacker Erik Walden wore 93 in Green Bay, and he’s wearing it in Indianapolis.
Linebackers wear 50s or 90s in the NFL. The Colts' current roster shows they are using every number in those ranges.
That would seem to suggest they have no choice but to use Freeney’s number.
Currently, No. 69, 70 and 77 are unused.
The Colts could have shifted a defensive lineman currently in the 90s into one of those numbers. Defensive tackle Ricardo Mathews seems to me to be the guy who should have been moved. If he parted with No. 91 and chose one of the open numbers in the 60s or 70s, that would have left Walden with 91.
However, if Mike Singletary’s No. 50 has been put back into action in Chicago, it’s hardly the end of the world for Freeney’s 93 to be in use.
Freeney is heading to the team's Ring of Honor and will have a strong Hall of Fame candidacy five years after he's finished playing. Those are way bigger honors than having his number go out of circulation.
It's not a scandal to put someone else in Freeney's number. But I'd rank it as less than ideal.
Singletary’s number was out of circulation for 20 years. Freeney’s number was out of circulation for about three months.