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Falcons RB Qadree Ollison changing numbers to honor slain brother

The Atlanta Falcons have given rookie running back Qadree Ollison permission to change his jersey number from No. 32 to No. 30, head coach Dan Quinn announced. The impending change was made so Ollison could pay tribute to his slain brother, who was killed in 2017.

“They’ve got to call and ask the league, but [Quinn] said it shouldn’t be a problem,” Ollison said, via ESPN’s Vaughn McClure. “A number is a number, but this means a little bit more to me. It’s going to be really nice to have that. It’s going to be exciting for everybody, just wearing that number and what it represents to me and my family.”

LeRowne Harris, the rookie back’s older brother, was shot three times and killed in 2017 during an incident in a gas station parking lot. Ollison switched from his original No. 37 during his final year at Pittsburgh to No. 30, which was the jersey number his older brother wore as a youth football standout in their hometown of Niagara Falls, N.Y.

Quinn approached Ollison at practice Monday and suggested he change to the No. 30 jersey, which became available after the Falcons cut fullback Ricky Ortiz.

Falcons star running back Devonta Freeman interestingly also chose his jersey number to honor a deceased loved one. He wears No. 24 in tribute to his aunt, who passed away at the age of 24 from a heart attack.

“I definitely respect it, for him to represent his brother like that,” Freeman said. “Everything I do and when I perform, it’s about my family, my auntie, and success for generations.”

It could take between five and seven days for the request to proceed through NFL protocol, so it’s possible Ollison will have to wear No. 32 in the Falcons’ season opener against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, though it is likely No. 30 will be available for a Week 2 showdown with the Philadelphia Eagles.