After 42 years, the Bills have issued No. 32 to be worn this season.
Tailback Senorise Perry will wear the number once donned by running back O.J. Simpson this fall.
Simpson was the Bills’ first huge celebrity. He played in Buffalo from 1969-77, where he earned four rushing titles and became the first running back to rush for more than 2,000 yards.
“Whatever they do is fine with me,” Simpson, 71, told The Athletic. “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.”
While the number never officially was retired, the scandals attached to Simpson’s name caused the Bills to withhold it.
In 1995, he was acquitted of the double murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman. However, he was found liable for their deaths in a civil suit filed by their families.
Simpson found himself in further trouble in 2007, when he was arrested on felony armed robbery and kidnapping charges in Las Vegas. He was convicted of both charges in 2008 and served nine years in prison. He was released in October of 2018.
With Simpson’s status as both a Hall of Famer and a convicted felon, Perry said he knew the implications that would follow taking No. 32.
“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,” Perry said, who played the last two seasons with the Dolphins.. “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.
“On one hand, wearing the number of a Hall of Famer creates a high expectation. I thought it was retired, but then I was told it was available. Boom, I took it.”
Perry, 27, mainly has contributed on special teams, averaging 20.6 yards on 22 kick returns.