Falcons' Sean Weatherspoon gets a free pass for old jersey number

Fortunately for Sean Weatherspoon, getting his old No. 56 Atlanta Falcons jersey back wasn't a difficult task.

The veteran linebacker, who played one year with the Arizona Cardinals before returning this offseason, was prepared to go in another direction if Brooks Reed was unwilling to part with the number. Instead, Reed agreed to take the No. 50 worn by former Falcons outside linebacker O'Brien Schofield last year.

So did Weatherspoon have to pay a little out of pocket to get his number back?

"No, I didn't have to," he said. "Brooks was super cool and just eager to get to work with me. (Assistant equipment manager) Kenny Osuwah put it all together."

Again, Weatherspoon had a plan if it didn't work out. First, he considered reaching out to Falcons legend Jessie Tuggle to ask Tuggle's blessing to wear No. 58. Instead, Weatherspoon decided to go with No. 52 in honor of former college and Falcons teammate William Moore, who wore No. 25 before being released after the 2015 season.

The team even announced the No. 52 to Weatherspoon, but then Reed agreed to the switch.

No matter what jersey he has on, Weatherspoon simply has to show he can contribute and stay healthy in the process. The former 2010 first-round draft pick out of Missouri had his share of injury woes in five previous years with the Falcons, including missing the entire 2014 season with an Achilles tear. Now the 28-year-old Weatherspoon has a chance to redeem himself by showing he can be a solid contributor at a position of need -- linebacker.