The No. 32 has been put back in circulation by the Buffalo Bills for the first time since 1977, the last season O.J. Simpson wore the number.
"I thought it was retired, but then I was told it was available. Boom, I took it," he told The Athletic.
"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. 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."
Simpson rushed for 10,183 yards and 57 touchdowns and led the NFL in rushing four times in nine seasons for the Bills, but his post-career troubles with the law have kept his number from being retired. His name does appear on the team's Wall of Fame at New Era Field.
Simpson, 71, was acquitted in 1995 for the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman, but a civil court jury found him liable for wrongful death and ordered him to pay $33.5 million. That total has now increased to more than $70 million since the original verdict in 1997. He was sentenced to prison in 2008 for armed robbery and kidnapping after entering a Las Vegas hotel room to recover stolen memorabilia items. He was paroled in 2017.
"Whatever they do is fine with me," Simpson told The Athletic in a telephone interview. "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."
Perry, 27, has mainly contributed on special teams during his NFL career, averaging 20.6 yards on 22 kick returns. He has rushed for 30 yards and caught two passes in his career.