Russell Gage wanted Steve Bartkowski’s No. 10

The Falcons selected quarterback Steve Bartkowski as the top overall pick in 1975.

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

The Falcons selected quarterback Steve Bartkowski as the top overall pick in 1975.

When the NFL relaxed jersey number restrictions this offseason, Falcons wide receiver Russell Gage wanted to wear jersey No. 10, which was worn by the great Steve Bartkowski from 1975-85.

“I wanted something different, something fresh,” Gage said Thursday. “I actually tried to get 10, but it’s retired I understand. I just wanted something fresh, something new.”

Gage ended switching from No. 83 to 14.

The Falcons don’t officially retire jersey numbers, but consider certain player jerseys worthy of being honored.

The Falcons place players in the Ring of Honor, but don’t officially retire their jerseys. But according to Gage, Bartkowski appears to have protected jersey status.

No one on the current roster wears jersey No. 60, which was Tommy Nobis’ number. Also, for many years no one has worn No. 31 (William Andrews), No. 57 (Jeff Van Note), No. 58 (Jessie Tuggle) and No. 78 (Mike Kenn).

No player has worn No. 31 since Andrews in 1986, or No. 58 since Tuggle in 2000, or No. 78 since Kenn in 1994. Scott Campbell wore No. 10 from 1986-90, the only player since Bartkowski to wear it. Clay Matthews wore No. 57 from 1994-96, the only player since Van Note to wear that one.

Nobis is the only player in franchise history to wear No. 60, an honor true of no other jersey number.

Falcons wide receiver Russell Gage (14), wearing a new jersey number, is congratulated by coach Arthur Smith after catching a pass during OTAs Tuesday, May 25, 2021, at the team training facility in Flowery Branch. (Curtis Compton /

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

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Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

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