Tank Dell will be wearing a new number when he makes his NFL debut Sunday at Baltimore. The rookie wide receiver, who had been wearing No. 13 in training camp and during the preseason, made the switch to No. 3 this week.
"It wasn't too much behind it," Dell said. "I had three in high school. I feel more comfortable in three. So that's just all that is."
Dell is looking to help boost a Texans offense that was ranked 31st last year, in addition to returning punts on special teams. QB C.J. Stroud, named one of Houston's four team captains earlier this week, developed an early connection with Dell this offseason and in training camp. With Stroud wearing No. 7, the duo made a splash on social media with the Houston area code "713" every time they combined for a play on the field.
Now a No. 3 clad Dell laughs when asked about inadvertently breaking up the Houston area code.
"It's all love, though," he said. "Don't hate me for it. It's all love."
Dell has been outspoken about his love for Houston, where he set records at the University of Houston. The 5-10, 165-pound receiver started his collegiate career at Independence Community College before leading the nation in receiving touchdowns (17) and receiving yards (1,398) for the Cougars. Often doubted for being undersized, Dell simply responded to critics with his big playmaking abilities.
"Just prove everybody wrong, that's my mindset, man," Dell said. "I had two chips on my shoulder growing up, so, you know, everybody doubted me. So every time I get the chance to step on the field, it's a blessing. I just go out there and play to the best of my ability."
With a whirlwind of an offseason and preseason now behind him, the Texans third-round draft pick hasn't had much time to reflect on his journey, which already has Houston so inextricably linked into it, but he's ready for it.
"I'm definitely excited," Dell said. "I don't think I have time to be emotional right now. I've got to get ready to go, so I don't have too much time to be emotional, but I'm excited. I'm just ready to go help the team. You know, the biggest the main goal is to go out there and win. So that's what I'm ready for."
Dell and the Texans will open their 2023 regular season at Baltimore. Kickoff against the Ravens is set for noon CT from M&T Bank Stadium on CBS and SportsRadio 610.