Phoenix, AZ (WAFB) - Two former LSU football stars who wore the legendary No. 7 exchanged jerseys after their first pro football faceoff.
Jacksonville Jaguars' rookie running back Leonard Fournette and Arizona Cardinals' veteran defensive back Tyrann Mathieu exchanged jerseys after the two teams faced off in Week 12 of National Football League play.
Mathieu is three years older than the Jaguars rookie running back, but they have long been close friends as New Orleans natives. The two share more in common than just football.
Both are New Orleans natives from the same neighborhood, alumni of St. Augustine High School, and wore the legendary No. 7 for LSU's football team (which was also worn by former Tiger and Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson).
The No. 7 jersey at LSU has become iconic over the past decade. Peterson wore the number when he first arrived on campus in Baton Rouge, and after Peterson exited for the NFL Draft, fellow defensive back Mathieu changed his jersey to wear the No. 7. After Mathieu left the program, the number was put on the shelf until Leonard Fournette, who signed on with the Tigers in 2014 and wore the No. 7 jersey for three straight seasons.
"When Tyrann made it, he kind of made it a reality for everybody that's from New Orleans to make it to the league," Fournette told the Cardinals' official website before the draft.
The Cardinals (5-6) defeated the Jaguars (7-4) after a 57-yard field by kicker Phil Dawson.
Fournette is among the NFL leaders with 740 yards rushing – and that's even after sitting out a game for disciplinary reasons and battling a bad ankle that has caused him problems since he was in college. Fournette said this week he's learned how to manage the injury and was optimistic about playing Sunday.
The tradition of trading jerseys steams from soccer where it is believed to have begun in 1931 after France beat England for the first time. In recent years, NFL players have taken up the tradition, swapping jerseys against opponents they have respect and/or admiration for.