A Buffalo Bills player was assigned the No. 32 this season for the first time in more than four decades.
Senorise Perry, a running back who signed with the Bills in the offseason, will wear the number -- the first time a member of the Bills will do so since O.J. Simpson last played in 1977.
Perry, who hadn't even been born when Simpson was starring in the NFL, told The Athletic in a story published Tuesday he thought the number had already been retired by the organization.
“I thought it was retired, but then I was told it was available. Boom, I took it,” he said.
Perry added: “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.”
Simpson, a Hall of Famer on the field and an ex-con off of it, told The Athletic he was fine with whatever the Bills decided to do with the number.
“Whatever they do is fine with me,” he said. "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.”
Simpson rushed for 10,183 yards and 57 touchdowns during his nine seasons with the Bills. He was a five-time All-Pro running back and won the 1973 NFL MVP award. However, his troubles off the field kept the Bills from retiring his number.
Simpson was accused of murdering his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, in 1995 in Los Angeles, but he was acquitted of the killings. Later, a civil court found him liable for wrongful death and ordered him to pay $33.5 million. In 2008, he was sentenced to prison for an armed robbery and kidnapping incident in Las Vegas involving some of his memorabilia. He was released on parole in 2017.