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Godwin 'passionate' about No. 12, defers to Tom Brady

Will TB12 wear No. 12 in Tampa Bay? That's up to Chris Godwin, the current leasee of the jersey number.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver admitted Friday that while he has a history with the number, he understands that Brady, who officially signed with the Bucs on Friday, has made more history wearing it.

"My phone has been blowing up non-stop on all my socials, texts and calls. Everybody wants to know the same thing," Godwin said when asked about TB12 and No. 12 on ESPN's "NFL Live" on Friday. "But for me I'm very passionate about the number, it's something I've been wearing it since I was in high school but at the end of the day, if he doesn't want it then I'll keep it.

"But if he does, out of respect for everything he's accomplished and everything that he's done I will kinda have to defer to him. He's the G.O.A.T., you know. If he's willing to give it up, perfect but if he's not, then I guess we'll cross that bridge when we get there."

Godwin has more than made a name for himself wearing No. 12, catching 18 TD passes at Penn State and developing into a Pro Bowl wideout alongside Mike Evans in Tampa Bay. Since entering the league as a third-round pick, Godwin has caught 179 balls for 2,700 yards and 17 scores. In 2019, he and Evans (No. 13) each went over 1,000 yards with Jameis Winston (No. 3) under center.

Brady, on the other hand, has worn No. 12 since he entered the league in 2000. Before that, he donned No. 10 at Michigan. In New England, Brady channeled the greatness of other No. 12s before him (Joe Namath, Terry Bradshaw, Roger Staubach, Jim Kelly), winning six Super Bowls and three league MVPs.

Whether Brady wants his iconic number (and his business' number-sake) to travel with him from New England to Tampa Bay is up to him, apparently. Godwin won't goad the G.O.A.T.

"I'm not too worried about it," Godwin concluded. "I think the biggest thing is that we have a great player coming down to join a bunch of great players that we have. And once we mesh all that together it's gonna be scary how good we can be."

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