Posted: 8:38 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013
By Jared E. Smith
It is debate as old as our blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician: Should the famous No. 44 jersey be un-retired? We've all had our say in posts and the comments section here at TNIAAM, but the topic has been somewhat untouched by SU bigwigs; well, until now.
According to a report by Syracuse.com's Chris Carlson, the great Floyd Little, now SU's special assistant to athletic director Daryl Gross, admitted that he has had discussion of un-retiring the jersey and giving it to a worthy veteran.
"I don't agree that it belongs in the rafters," Little said. "I want to be here when it's back on the field. I like to be here when they recruit the kid. I like to say, 'If you meet the expectations we have for you, you can be the guy that can bring back that tradition.' "
Of course, the idea of retiring the No. 44 was his current boss' idea. So, if Little is serious about wanting the jersey back then there's a process, which Joe Giansante, the athletic department's chief communications officer, broke down to Carlson.
Little said he's talking with Gross about formalizing the process, and that it could also include reaching out to the other players that have worn the jersey.
"Technically they are both right," Giansante said via e-mail. "The number has been retired. However, Daryl has appointed a committee to oversee that number and there is always a possibility it could be un-retired for a very special circumstance should the committee deem it a worthy situation. ... 'Special circumstance' is hard to define but given the special nature of the number, it would be for something or someone extraordinary given the honor it would be to wear 44."
Considering Syracuse may have a stacked backfield, including Jerome Smith, Prince-Tyson Gulley, Ashton Broyld, Adonis Ameen-Moore and George Morris II, over the next few years there could be some solid candidates that could relight and carry the No. 44 torch.
Understandably, none of these running backs will be as good as Jim Brown, Ernie Davis or Little, but No. 44 stands for so much more than being a good running back. It is sort of personal standard that one sets for oneself, and if one can live up to that standard by being an outstanding leader on and of the field I see no reason why nobody else could wear it.
Again, that's my opinion and I ask: If Little is all for it, could you now be all for the return of No. 44?