Back on May 28, Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers announced his intentions to switch back to No. 3 for the 2021 season, his childhood and collegiate number. Akers told reporters the personal significance behind the number and shared how it was his “lucky number.”
But in a responding tweet to a fan who shared how excited he was in ordering an Akers No. 3 Rams jersey, Akers revealed on June 8 via social media that he’ll remain with No. 23.
Additionally, the Rams 2021 roster on the team’s website confirms Akers is staying with his rookie number.
Final Week of Minicamp Saw Akers in No. 23
After Akers’ May announcement of his number change, the Rams online store started to put out No. 3 Akers jerseys. However, the website has returned to putting his No. 23 uniform available on the internet .
Suspicion started to grow during the last week of June minicamp about Akers returning to his rookie number instead of sticking with his number from his Florida State and high school years. Akers was spotted in two practices wearing No. 23, the first one on June 8 as reported by The Athletic’s Jordan Rodrigue.
Then, during the team’s open practice in front of nearly 30,000 Rams fans at SoFi Stadium, the Rams Twitter account captured video of Akers having a friendly exchange with legendary Rams running back Eric Dickerson. But in the nine second social media clip, Akers is revealed wearing last year’s number.
Currently, no one on the Rams roster has claimed No. 3. Nine Ram players have their gameday number between 1-9. On June 13, the Rams officially announced cornerback Jalen Ramsey will be changing from No. 20 to No. 5 with Ramsey himself confirming the move.
As No. 23 Akers showed flashes of potential but had to battle through injuries, the first one occurring in the 37-19 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on September 22.
Akers then suffered a high ankle sprain during the Rams’ stunning 23-20 loss to the New York Jets, sidelining him for the Dec. 27 NFC West contest against the Seattle Seahawks.
Akers squeaked out 11 starts in his NFL season debut. His lone 100-yard evening came against the New England Patriots to the tune of 29 carries, 171 yards and an additional 23 receiving yards on three catches in the Rams’ 24-3 romp. Akers went on to combine for 748 total yards of offense and just three touchdowns.
Is Buyout Rule the Reason?
When the league announced that skill position players could change their number from last year to a single digit, there was one cost attached to it: Buying out the inventory of their previous number, which can get expensive for players who change numbers.
This ruling brought the potential for players to hold off on switching numbers until the 2022 season. There were players including Akers’ offensive teammates DeSean Jackson and Robert Woods who went ahead and made the numbers switch, returning to their college football numbers No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.
But on May 17, Rams Twitter unveiled Akers would be joining the two in wearing the single digit front to back.
Akers or the Rams haven’t officially confirmed if the buyout rule is the chief reasoning behind his return to No. 23. Regardless if it’s his last season wearing No. 23, Akers will head into the season with heavy expectations to provide running and receiving balance out of the Rams’ backfield. His head coach Sean McVay already believes the now second-year RB is an every down back .