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Jayden Daniels will wear No. 5 with Commanders after longest-tenured player on team gives rookie QB his number

The numbers ‘2’ and ‘5’ have significant meaning in Jayden Daniels‘ football career. No. 2 is when he was drafted, going to the Washington Commanders with the second overall pick of the 2024 NFL Draft. No. 5 is the number he wore in high school and college, while working toward the ultimate goal of not only making the NFL, but becoming a top draft pick.

The number ‘5’ has also been important to Commanders punter Tress Way, who is the longest-tenured player on the team and has donned the numeral in each of his 10 seasons in Washington. Wearing the number, Way has been to two Pro Bowls and named team captain four times. It’s understandable that Way would be attached to No. 5 — a jersey number Daniels wants as well.

Way decided to give Daniels his number and wear a new one for the first time in a decade, but he wasn’t going to just hand it to the rookie signal-caller. The veteran, who didn’t want money, says he’s got a “couple cool ideas” for the transaction. One idea is having Daniels ask fans to send in photos wearing Way’s old jersey so the quarterback could buy these Commanders fans the new jersey of the punter. The exact swap details have not been finalized.

Way said he felt like it was the right move, giving the promising rookie his number. 

“I just feel like there’s just so much excitement around this organization, hands down the most I have ever seen,” Way said, via the official team website. “All of the excitement [is] building and building and building. I just feel like this is … a very small part that I could do.”

Way said that at first he said he was keeping the number, noting he didn’t want his captain patch filled in wearing a different number, if he was, in fact, nominated for the leadership position again. The number is more to him than just something stitched on a jersey; he says it represents a crucial part of his career, coming to Washington and, in his opinion, feeling “wanted” for the first time.

Talking about what the team and the jersey number means to him, Way said “this is harder than I thought.”

“Full disclosure I told them ‘no’ right out the gate … and it just didn’t sit well,” he said. Getting emotional, he recalls a conversation with his wife, where she asked how he got that “C” on his jersey in the first place. Reminded that leadership is more important than the number, Way wanted to make the change to support the team.

“This is just a very small part that I can do,” he said.

Way said he will be there for Daniels on fourth down if they have to give the ball away, and he wanted to be here for him now as well, saying as a rookie he can imagine there is a lot going on in his head as he prepares for his NFL debut.

Although Way has not yet decided on a new number, he notes it will be an odd number, and admitted it was not easy to give up his old digits. 

“It is a very big piece of humble pie to give up this number,” Way said. “But I feel like it’s a bite I should take either way. I feel like it’s the right thing.”

Way joked that he may try to get some of his teammates’ current jerseys, saying, “My son, Beau, he’s got a 5 jersey and he also has two other jerseys. He’s got 39 for [Jeremy Reaves] and 17 for Terry [McLaurin]. So, maybe I could go after one of their jerseys.”

While wearing No. 5, Way had a touchback rate of 6.2%, an average of 46.9 yards per punt and 37.7% of his punts landing inside the 20-yard line.

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Author: Shanna McCarriston
May 10, 2024 | 12:20 pm

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