June 17 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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It was brought to my attention yesterday that there was an inconsistency in the article “Don’t Expect McNown To Wear #8”. In taking a look at some of the unused numbers on the 49ers roster, I pointed out that 51, the number Ken Norton Jr used to where was still ‘unmanned’. The inconsistency is that, Saleem Rasheed was pictured wearing the number 51 in mini-camps.
While I believe it is possible that Ken Norton’s 51 not be put aside, I still can not say with certainty that it hasn’t been. I took a close look at the 49ers roster again, and noticed that Rasheed’s number officially is 57. For those of you who remember, retired linebacker Alex Lincoln who was on the roster during mini-camps was also number 57.
The 49ers often share numbers in mini-camp. If Cade McNown wants to where number 18 for example, he will be the third player on the team to do so during the off-season. The difference in all the current situations of number sharing, and the number sharing that occurred between Saleem and Lincoln is that currently, when a number is duplicated one is for the offense and one is for the defense.
Not only were Rasheed and Lincoln both defensive players, but both played linebacker, and so it’s possible that Rasheed was given the number for these purposes only. Otherwise, it could have gotten confusing. We won’t really know what number Rasheed will where until either there is a clarification from the 49ers, or he enters training camp. Even looking at college won’t really help - there Rasheed wore number 11.