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J.J. Watt Can't Wear No. 99 With the Cardinals Unless They Unretire a WWII Veteran's Jersey

By Stephen Douglas
J.J. Watt
J.J. Watt / Carmen Mandato/Getty Images
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J.J. Watt has signed with the Arizona Cardinals. All that money made it a no-brainer, but there's another number that will now be of concern to Watt: the one on his jersey. Watt has worn No. 99 his entire career, going all the way back to when he move to defensive end when he arrived at Wisconsin in 2009. Unfortunately for Watt, the Cardinals retired No. 99, which was worn by running back Marshall Goldberg.

Here's where it gets interesting. Marshall "Biggie" Goldberg played for the Chicago Cardinals. He wore three different numbers (42, 89, 99) for the Cardinals and was a part of their 1947 championship team. Did he have a big game? Well, the Pro Football Reference box score says he didn't touch the ball on offense, but he did have an interception. He rushed for 155 yards and zero touchdowns that season.

In college, he finished third in Heisman voting in 1937. He also missed two years in the middle of his career. In his eight-year professional career he amassed 2,419 yards from scrimmage and scored 16 touchdowns. And if you haven't guessed by now, he missed two seasons because he joined the Navy during World War II and spent those years in the South Pacific.

So if J.J. Watt really wants his number, all he has to do is ask that the franchise unretire the number of a veteran. To be fair, Watt has done so much for the troops at this point, he should be able to call in a favor. Perhaps the Cardinals could retire one of Goldberg's other numbers instead. It seems like a fair compromise, even if Watt would never do it.

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