JK Dobbins pays tribute to his father with his selection of Ravens jersey

Ravens second-round pick JK Dobbins chose to wear the number 27 to start his career in Baltimore. When the running back lines up in the backfield this fall, it will bring back a familiar sight for many.

Dobbins’ size, running style – and now his number – will mimic former running back Ray Rice’s days as a crow. Despite some success on the court, Rice is more remembered for her involvement in cases of domestic violence and assault that led to the end of her NFL career. Dobbins fully understands the perception of # 27 in purple from the past, but only focuses on what the future holds for the number now that he’s wearing it.

“Ray Rice was an amazing player. People make mistakes,” Dobbins said on Instagram Live Thursday, reported by the Ravens. “But I wear this number for myself because I want to leave a legacy for myself in this number.”

In addition to building his own history in the NFL, Dobbins landed on his new number largely because of his importance to his family. Number 27 was what his father Lawrence wore during his football career, which included a few phenomenal seasons at La Grange High School in Texas, the same high school where JK Dobbins shone.

“I always wore it to pee wee football. It was my dad’s number,” Dobbins said. “So the reason I wear number 27 is to honor my father.”

Dobbins donned the number when he started out in football, but then moved away for high school and college. Wearing No.22 and La Grange and No.2 at Ohio State, Dobbins explained that part of it was because he didn’t want to live in someone else’s spotlight.

“In high school, I feel like most teens have that stage where they want to rebel or be their own person,” Dobbins said. “I wanted to be my own person instead of following and doing what my dad wore.”

Now his state of mind has changed. With his father no longer around after his death from a stroke when Dobbins was just 15, the running back wants to honor an important person in his life. For Dobbins, it’s no longer about what number 27 was in Baltimore. The number is a way for him to create his own story in the NFL and to give new meaning to the numbers sewn onto his jersey while paying homage to his family in the process.

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