Holt opts for a different number this season

Monday, June 3, 2002

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Rams wide receiver Torry Holt has a new goal -- getting the same results with the jersey number he always wanted and finally has got.

Holt has turned in No. 88 and instead will wear No. 81 this season as the Rams try to earn their third Super Bowl trip in four years.

"New number, a whole new look, man," Holt said after practice during the St. Louis' mandatory minicamp. "It'll be like I'm a whole new player out there. Hopefully, my game will still be intact."

Holt caught 81 passes for a team-leading 1,363 yards on last year's 14-2 club that lost to New England in the Super Bowl. Holt averaged 16.8 yards a catch and scored seven touchdowns, becoming quarterback Kurt Warner's chief target after defenses constantly double-teamed Isaac Bruce.

Since coming to the Rams as their top draft pick in 1999 out of North Carolina State, Holt has wanted to wear No. 81 -- but Az-Zahir Hakim already had that number until leaving last winter, signing as a free agent with the Detroit Lions.

"I didn't want to make a big fuss about it," Holt said of No. 81. "The number doesn't make me; I make the number."

Now, he said, "I'm going to try and get it retired."

Over his first two seasons with the Rams, Holt caught 134 passes for 2,423 yards and 12 touchdowns. In the Rams' Super Bowl win over Tennessee in 2000, Holt had seven receptions for 109 yards.

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