If it was anybody else other than the greatest player of all time asking, it’s unlikely Chris Godwin would have given up No. 12.
But when it’s Tom Brady asking. . .
“Yeah, for me, I’ve worn No. 12 since I was in high school,” Godwin said in an interview with Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated. “I wore it in high school, college and my first three years in the pros. Just what I’ve been able to accomplish by wearing No. 12, each year kind of gained more and more significance for me. It kind of like became a part of my identity, something that people called me 12 or just CG 12 or some kind of combination of the two. It was something I really, really got attached to. As with any number, it’s the person that makes it. So I’m looking forward to my next journey in No. 14 and hopefully I get to wear No. 12 again later.”
The Buccaneers made it official earlier this week by announcing Brady will wear No. 12. Brady signed with the team last month.
During a conversation with Brady, Godwin did not ask for anything to change his number from 12 to 14.
“Honestly, it didn’t take too much. You know, we really just had a conversation,” Godwin said. “I kind of let him know how I felt about it, why it was important to me. I told him straight up, I was like, ‘Listen, I’m going to defer to you. If you really want the jersey, I’m cool with it. But obviously if not, then I’ll keep it.’ Then, we kind of talked through it, and he decided that he did want to keep it. For me, it was really just a respect thing. I have a ton of respect for Tom and everything he’s done, and I’m looking forward to creating great memories.”
Godwin and Mike Evans give Brady arguably the top receiver tandem in the NFL. Both receivers were Pro Bowl selections last season, combining for 153 receptions for 2,490 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Brady will wear 12; Evans wears 13 and Godwin picked 14 out of a list of available numbers sent to him by the Bucs’ equipment staff.
“I think 14 looks sweet,” Godwin said.