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Josh Jacobs feeling 'like a superhero' in new jersey number 

New number, same Josh Jacobs.

The 2022 rushing king returned to Intermountain Health Performance Center this week fresh off signing a new contract with the Las Vegas Raiders. Currently he's on the exempt list and doesn't count against the active roster limit. Nevertheless, he took the practice field Wednesday wearing a crisp No. 8 practice jersey.

While Raider Nation has become accustomed to seeing the All-Pro running back rocking No. 28, he's getting back to his roots with his new uniform number selection. He's worn No. 8 since he was a child playing football in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

"All my life, that's the number I've always worn. The number, I feel like it brings something different out of me," said Jacobs. "Even in college, I feel like I took that leap in that number, so it's going to be fun to see what I can do with it. Try to make it a staple.

"Growing up, it was always just a number that I felt always caught my eye," continued Jacobs. "I remember when I was in Little League, I got my jersey stolen. I had a 30s number and I was like, 'Man, nah.' But there's something about that eight that makes me feel like a superhero."

While Jacobs hopes to inherit more superhero powers from his old faithful number, he aims to continue leading the charge in the Raiders run attack. Jacobs remained in close contact with the running back room this offseason, and his teammates were ecstatic to see him return to the practice field.

"He looks like eight. I mean well he looks like 28, but he looks like eight," joked Brandon Bolden. "Same old Josh. He was away from football, he missed, we missed him but we're back to work. Having him out there today, that was big for everybody out there – including him."

Jacobs said he continued to follow the same stringent workout plan that he found to be successful ahead of his 2022 campaign. He also keeps a personal chef to help with his nutrition. While Wednesday was his first practice with the team this season, he feels that with his prep, there's no rust and he's ready to go.

"Physically, I haven't missed a step. I definitely can say that" said Jacobs. "The biggest thing for me, really, was coming back mentally. With the playbook and the new plays, I didn't want to be behind. But when I came in today, I didn't have no [sic] errors. I came in today and was like, 'Oh yeah, I remember this. I remember this.' So now it's about stacking days."

Josh McDaniels also believes it won't take too much time for Jacobs to get caught up to speed. The Raiders head coach described the back as "one of the smartest football players that you're going to coach."

"We didn't change our vernacular, our terminology much," McDaniels said. "I think just for him in general, getting acclimated to certain things, in terms of his footwork and seeing certain schemes, etc. Really getting a great opportunity to meet a few of his teammates that he hasn't had an opportunity to meet...

"[T]here's nobody in our building that doesn't love him. Coaches, players, support staff; everybody's excited to see him. I think he's excited to be here. Loves being a Raider."

Jacobs now has 11 days before the Silver and Black's first game of the regular season to continue getting reps alongside his teammates, some new and some old.

The running back noticed more speed added to the roster this year with passionate players on both sides of the ball stepping up as leaders. These practice reps over the next week will mean just a little more to him. He hopes his worth ethic speaks for itself to the rest of the locker room and helps set the standard for the upcoming 2023 season.

"Seeing a lot of the new guys, even since the draft I was watching some of the guys coming out from college, watching their highlights and watching the preseason games," he said. "Seeing a lot of these guys come in, they have a lot of talent. ... I couldn't wait to come in and see it for myself. Be able to see their work ethic and let them see my work ethic and try and put it together."

View photos of the Silver and Black's roster as it currently stands. (Last updated Tuesday, August 29th)

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