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Colts haven’t retired No. 88, but they won’t let Nicks wear it

Marvin Harrison AP

Technically, the Colts have not retired the 88 jersey which the team’s all-time leading receiver, Marvin Harrison, wore during his 13 seasons in Indianapolis, and which Hall of Fame tight end John Mackey wore for nine seasons in Baltimore. But the Colts aren’t giving No. 88 out anymore.

That became clear when the Colts’ website announced that Hakeem Nicks, the newly arrived free agent who wore No. 88 with the Giants, will instead wear No. 14 with the Colts.

Nicks had previously said he wanted to keep wearing No. 88 but that he didn’t know if he could in Indianapolis.

“Everybody knows I love those eights on my chest, but we’ll have to see how that pans out,” Nicks said when he signed with the Colts.

The Colts are running out of numbers in the 80s, with Raymond Berry’s 82 and Gino Marchetti’s 89 both retired, and Reggie Wayne’s 87 likely to be retired some day as well. But they should also retire 88, and when they do they should honor both Harrison and Mackey.

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50 Responses to “Colts haven’t retired No. 88, but they won’t let Nicks wear it”
  1. nflofficeadmin says: Apr 18, 2014 9:21 AM

    There’s a couple guys down in Carolina that still want to put two 9’s on his chest.

  2. youtubeingravenvids says: Apr 18, 2014 9:22 AM

    Oh well.

  3. naes says: Apr 18, 2014 9:23 AM

    You don’t give sacred numbers to a guy on a one year show me deal. Especially a guy who loafs it on about 88% of his routes. Who is hurt all season and skips big games. And who doesn’t attend OTA workouts coming off a year where he was a part time player.

    Good luck with that slow-footed, oft injured choad Colts.

  4. grantsbuds says: Apr 18, 2014 9:25 AM

    Overrated player.
    Grigson isn’t a good GM. (Walden, Gosder, Richardson, etc……)

  5. grantsbuds says: Apr 18, 2014 9:29 AM

    DHB II!!!!!!

  6. doctormantistoboggan says: Apr 18, 2014 9:29 AM

    Marv packs heat. Don’t anger Marv.

  7. sarcasm says: Apr 18, 2014 9:30 AM

    Nor should they let him or anyone wear it. Should have done the same thing with 32.

  8. BigAlHeBDMan says: Apr 18, 2014 9:31 AM

    John Mackey was the 1st GREAT Tight End I ever saw. Youngsters should try to find utube footage of his highlights including the one in the Super Bowl on a pass from Unitas. I know the NFL frowns on retiring numbers since they went to 53 man rosters, because teams are beginning to run out of numbers. Both he and Harrison were still great players though as is Reggie Wayne. And than there’s Peyton. The Colts will need to use symbols after while #@%&*.

  9. nygmann says: Apr 18, 2014 9:33 AM

    Retire the number already!

  10. uglydingo says: Apr 18, 2014 9:39 AM

    This exposes the theatrical side of the game. They want to retire Marvin Harrison’s #88 numbered jersey. He was a truly great player and deserves recognition, but rather than just say that, protocol dictates that the owner retires the jersey, etc. Owner, Jim Irsay isn’t doing press conferences for a while while his snafu gets sorted out.

  11. mackie66 says: Apr 18, 2014 9:44 AM

    This number retiring thing will get to the point where the NFL will need to start wearing three digit numbers,,,QBs, 100-119, RBs, 120-149, etc, etc.
    Why is it necessary to retire numbers?,,,,stupid is as stupid does.

  12. The Red Rifle says: Apr 18, 2014 9:49 AM

    Maybe he can wear #18.

  13. johnodocks says: Apr 18, 2014 9:50 AM

    Since Mackey and Harrison wore it so well, maybe they should let Nicks wear it and hope the luck rubs off on him too.

  14. hgamatt says: Apr 18, 2014 9:58 AM

    It’s hard to retire too many numbers for a reciever, because they are so limited in what they can wear. Dallas doesn’t do much right, but the way they honor players in the ring of honor but keep the numbers active is probably the way to go. That way, you get to track great players who wear the same number (Pearson, Irvin, Dez* [tbd])

  15. turtlehut says: Apr 18, 2014 10:09 AM

    At least he did not come to Indy expecting to wear Luck’s “12” like DeSean!

  16. jayhawk6 says: Apr 18, 2014 10:10 AM

    88 should have been retired after John Mackey left the game, long before Marvin Harrison arrived.

    BTW, weren’t there press accounts linking Harrison to gang-related types of activity, even before he retired?

  17. justintuckrule says: Apr 18, 2014 10:17 AM

    Teen numbers still look dumb on wrs.

  18. indytom87 says: Apr 18, 2014 10:24 AM

    I think the Colts were blindsided that Marvin didn’t get the votes for the Hall – like many thought he would (given past statistical precedence). They probably (my speculation) planned to honor Marvin and retire his number the same year as his Hall induction.

  19. jkirby317 says: Apr 18, 2014 10:26 AM


  20. andrewluck12 says: Apr 18, 2014 10:28 AM

    No one should ever wear the numbers 18,88,or 87 with the colts. 12 will be there someday. Maybe 98. I remember back in 09 when we drafted Austin collie and polian asked him if he wanted 88 or 17 and collie said he wouldn’t touch marvins number. Miss both those dudes

  21. FlashPatterson says: Apr 18, 2014 10:39 AM

    Peyton, Wayne and Harrison were probably the greatest combo of all time. I’m not even a Colts fan.

  22. kepdogg23 says: Apr 18, 2014 11:09 AM

    Grigson is not a good GM because of Richardson, Cherilus, Walden, and Nicks? What about TY Hilton, Dwayne Allen, Coby Fleener, Jerrell Freeman, resigning Mathis and Wayne, letting Freeney walk? Who is your team and I will find some mistakes that they have made!!

  23. sicklnick121 says: Apr 18, 2014 11:13 AM

    The greatest NFL franchise does it right, Recognize the play not the number, Besides no player is bigger then the team itself. #Raiders

  24. kc114 says: Apr 18, 2014 11:22 AM

    With NFL roster being 53 players it makes no sense to retire numbers as over half of the numbers are being used and that the NFL has restictions on what number a player can have based on their position.

  25. cletuswithat says: Apr 18, 2014 11:23 AM

    you should be able to bring the number back out of retirement when such player deserve the honor to wear it

  26. cletuswithat says: Apr 18, 2014 11:24 AM

    let me rephrase that when he earns the right to wear it

  27. kriswd40 says: Apr 18, 2014 11:30 AM

    If I were the Colts, I’d distance myself as much as possible from Harrison. Might have been a great player but he’s an awful human being.

  28. charmcitychampions says: Apr 18, 2014 11:40 AM

    Stop retiring numbers. Nothing changes the greatness of the player. The number on the shirt they wore means nothing.

  29. sandersmarcus10 says: Apr 18, 2014 11:42 AM

    Like someone said earlier, honor these players another way because if the TE that wore it was as great as they say he was then it shouldnt have been given to Harrison

  30. boobsmcgoo says: Apr 18, 2014 11:58 AM

    Retiring numbers is stupid.

  31. taosravenfan says: Apr 18, 2014 12:00 PM

    John Mackey (RIP) played for the Baltimore Colts. He never had anything to do with Indy or the Irsay’s. They showed their respect by giving Harrison his number. The Baltimore Colts are dead and gone. Let them stay that way and stop dragging their history to the Midwest.

  32. dontbugmeonsundays says: Apr 18, 2014 12:08 PM

    I remember the late Al Davis once said and I’m paraphrasing here, “no one player is above the team, that’s why the Raiders don’t retire numbers”.

  33. oldcracker says: Apr 18, 2014 12:31 PM

    Retire the jersey with the player’s name but, leave the numbers alone….unless you go to 3-digit numbers. I know that players are superstitious but retire & honor the player, not the number.

  34. nickster31 says: Apr 18, 2014 12:38 PM

    I don’t think teams should retire numbers at all. I’m a Steelers fan, and the Steelers have retired a total of ONE number.

    Ernie Stautner, #70.

    Terry Bradshaw – 12
    Franco Harris – 32
    Jack Lambert – 58
    Jack Ham – 59
    Joe Green – 75

    All Hall of Fame members, none with a retired number.

    Why? Because other players that have meant just as much to the success of the team, Lynn Swann (88), John Stallworth (82), Rod Woodson (26) could not have their numbers retired because there are too few numbers allowed for their positions, the team couldn’t retire them.
    You can’t disrespect some players by not retiring the numbers when you do for others.

    Now, when we have a great player, Jerome Bettis, Troy Polamalu, Ben Roethlisberger, we know the number won’t be “retired”, we just know it won’t be issued to anyone.

  35. rutchaser says: Apr 18, 2014 1:16 PM

    That’s why receivers and running backs should be able to wear 1 through 49 also.

  36. nuufaaola says: Apr 18, 2014 1:29 PM

    Retiring numbers is a great sentiment, but not a great practice.

    A “ring of honor” is great way to pay tribute, as is a temporary removal of a special player’s number from availability. Players should show respect by not asking to wear a hallowed number for a period of time, but if another special player comes along after an appropriate period of time passes and he wants to wear that number, he should be able to wear it if he either has a personal history with that number and/or if he wants to pay tribute to the original bearer of that number.

    For instance, the Jets haven’t issued #59 since Kyle Clifton’s retirement, which I think is a bit much at this point. Clifton was a special player for the Jets and meant a great deal to a lot of people within the organization as man off the field. But it’s been nearly 20 years since his retirement and I don’t think anyone will forget about Clifton if #59 is issued again. Same thing for Wayne Chrebet’s #80.

    As a former life-long Jets fan (and former employee) – I gave up on them and won’t go back until there’s a new coach, a real quarterback (not an “athlete” who can sometimes throw), a smart GM that builds through the draft, and most importantly, a new owner – I’d like to see a ring of honor for some of their special-but-not-quite-Hall-of-Fame-level players rather than see their numbers permanently removed from circulation.

    12, 13, 28, 57, 59, 73, 80, 88, 93 are all deserving, and consideration should also be given for 85, 99, 68, 53, 31, and 55.

  37. surfinbird1 says: Apr 18, 2014 1:50 PM

    Raymond Berry = Great Colt & great Patriots coach.

  38. august589 says: Apr 18, 2014 2:38 PM

    Because of the expanded rosters, eligible receivers should be allowed to wear 1-49, 80-89. Defensive players should be allowed to wear any number they choose. Quarterbacks should be able to wear 1-29 (not that they would).

  39. vtsquirm says: Apr 18, 2014 2:40 PM

    The only number that should ever be retired is Jackie Robinson’s 42 in baseball. Yes there have been some great players over the years, but none has impacted the sport enough to have his number permanently retired except for Robinson.

  40. fdugrad says: Apr 18, 2014 3:17 PM

    The number “88” should have been retired to honor John Mackey YEARS ago. Perhaps this was punishment for him being a good Union Man. It is a disgrace to have not honored this HOF player.

  41. tcostant says: Apr 18, 2014 5:05 PM

    How Marvin Harrison never ot charged with murder is stunning. Can you image that a guy gets killed with your gun, which you say you still have locked up and you also said in front of witnesses that you were gonna kill the guy. And the police are blinded by how good a WR he was rather than the evidence.

  42. tuxbirds says: Apr 18, 2014 5:08 PM

    Neither Nicks nor Harrison deserved to wear Mackey’s 88. Mackey was the first TE weapon; Harrison belongs in jail for using a weapon.

  43. ErikW65 says: Apr 18, 2014 5:17 PM

    The Colts are a soul-less team. They are so ashamed of the crimes in which their star receiver is implicated that they can’t officially retire his number.

  44. cletuswithat says: Apr 18, 2014 5:17 PM

    If tony Gonzalez went to Indianapolis are you gonna tell him he cant have 88 also?

  45. thrstr says: Apr 18, 2014 5:30 PM

    what? you’re not giving an over-rated injury-prone
    joisey giants WR the number of an immanent HOF-er? Why not?

  46. patriotsdefense says: Apr 18, 2014 5:32 PM

    Marvin Harrison was Aaron Hernandez, just smarter.

  47. flybono24 says: Apr 18, 2014 5:35 PM

    Good thing the Raiders don’t retire numbers. They’d run out of every single one.
    The only ‘official’ retired number they have is 00 for Jim Otto, but that’s because the NFL doesn’t allow it to be issued anymore.
    Numbers that would be retired by the Raiders:
    8-Ray Guy
    21-Cliff Branch
    24-Willie Brown
    25-Fred Biletnikoff
    32-Marcus Allen
    34-Bo Jackson
    37-Lester Hayes
    63-Gene Upshaw
    75-Howie Long
    76-Steve Wisniewski
    78-Art Shell
    81-Tim Brown
    83 – Ted Hendricks
    87-Dave Casper

    So yeah… that’s why the Raiders don’t retire numbers.

  48. flybono24 says: Apr 18, 2014 5:36 PM

    I was going off memory, but I left out a lot of 50 #’s linebackers like Villapiano… and Townsend was 94 I think. You get the point.

  49. bartlettruss says: Apr 18, 2014 7:17 PM

    I can see retiring it for Mackey, but the Philadelpha District Attorney’s Office thinks Harrison is a murderer and that can come back to bite ya…

  50. mrklutch1011 says: Apr 19, 2014 1:14 AM

    Im not reading all these marvin harrison is great posts before i remind you about a piece done by espn a few years back about a dude who was killed after outting marvin harrison for threatening him for his life. The guy was killed almost as soon as it aired. Btw what has marvin harrison done for the colts, the league or the community since he retired?? “Crickets” …….. And D Jax gets cut for associating with these guys…. Quit glorifying this man

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