It’s been more than 40 years since a Buffalo Bills player has worn the number 32. The last player to wear that number was kind of famous. His name was O.J. Simpson.
However, this season, that number will be worn again. And like O.J. Simpson, it will be worn by a running back.
Senorise Perry, formerly of the Bears and Dolphins, will don the number 32 for the Bills this year for the first time since 1977.
“I thought it was retired,” Perry told Tim Graham of The Athletic, “but then I was told it was available. Boom, I took it. I know the situation. I know that greatness comes with that number, playing in Buffalo. But I’m willing to take anything that comes my way. I’m going into my sixth year, and I know what it takes to get in this league and stay here. With that number on my back, I know I’m doing well for my family.”
There is definitely greatness that comes with that number, when it comes to football. Not so much when it comes to things away from football. However, the first part of what Perry said also begs the question: Why wasn’t O.J. Simpson’s number retired?
Now, clearly the Bills weren’t going to have a jersey retirement ceremony for Simpson anytime after 1994, for obvious reasons. However, Simpson last played for the Bills in 1977. There were at least 17 years before Simpson became embroiled in a headline-grabbing murder trial in which the Bills could have retired the number of the best player they ever had before Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, and Jim Kelly came along. O.J. Simpson was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1985, which was his first year of eligibility. How many players become shoe-in 1st ballot Hall of Famers and don’t get their numbers retired by the teams they played for?
Simpson, for his part, doesn’t seem bothered.
“Whatever they do is fine with me,” Simpson told The Athletic. “That’s how I feel. When I played there, I tried to honor the team. Since I left, I always tried to honor the Bills. And, to be honest, it’s not something I think about. There’s too much else going on in life.”
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn