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OWENS STAKES CLAIMS TO NUMBER 81

The first skirmish involving receiver Terrell Owens might not involve Trent Edwards or any other quarterback on the team.
Instead, T.O.’s  initial victim in Buffalo could be receiver James Hardy, the person to whom number 81 was issued last year.
In his first Buffalo radio interview, with our pals Shredd and Ragan of 103.3 WEDG, Owens made it clear that 81 belongs to him.
Asked whether he’ll be wearing the only number he’s worn throughout his NFL career, Owens said, “Yes I am. . . . That’s my number.”
Owens then was asked whether he has worked out a deal with Hardy, which is typically the custom when a new player wants to finagle a jersey number that already has been issued to another player on the roster — and which typically entails a sizable cash payment to the player currently in possession of the number.
It was a simple “yes” or “no” question.  But Owens opted not to answer it directly.
“When I walked into the building for the first time and they showed me around and I walked into the locker room,” he said, “first thing I saw was a locker and it had the number 81 with Owens . . . on the back and I had some other Buffalo swag hung up in the locker room.  As far as working deals out, I don’t know.  That’s not my department.  I think Russ [Brandon] the General Manager, he’ll have to deal with that.”
Translation?  “I ain’t payin’ Hardy sh-t.”
Owens’ name continues to be absent from the team’s official roster — and Hardy’s name on the roster continues to reflect that his assigned number is 81.
Meanwhile, the team is now selling jerseys with Owens’ name appearing over the number 81.
Some might think it’s a small matter.  But football players can be very territorial about their numbers.  Just ask Clinton Portis, who was sued by Ifeanyi Ohalete after Portis promised to pay $40,000 for number 26 with the Redskins and stiffed Ohalete out of half of it after Ohalete was cut.
That said, Hardy doesn’t have a long history with 81; he wore 82 at Indiana, which Josh Reed wears with the Bills.
Still, it’s the principle that could take on a life of its own.  If the team is willing to automatically take Hardy’s number and give it to another player without so much as a head’s up, the message to the rest of the players is that the front office and the coaching staff will cater to T.O.’s every wish and whim.
So if the team doesn’t handle this specific situation properly, it could make it even harder for a guy with a history of locker-room issues to be properly accepted by his newest set of teammates.

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75 Responses to “OWENS STAKES CLAIMS TO NUMBER 81”
  1. GZ says: Mar 11, 2009 11:38 PM

    Plax paid a few folks out for his #. A lot of players (generally receivers) make a big deal about it.

  2. Coming_of_Tan says: Mar 11, 2009 11:40 PM

    T.O.’s jersey number = the butterfly effect

  3. NDCowboysfan says: Mar 11, 2009 11:43 PM

    wow not even a week into buffalo and he’s already alienating people in the locker room whew thank god he’s not in dallas anymore…

  4. mustbechris says: Mar 11, 2009 11:48 PM

    Doesn’t seem like a big deal to me. Asante Samuel came to the Eagles and they just gave him 22, which had been Joselio Hanson’s number. He didn’t really care, he just moved to 21 because it was Deion’s number and he didnt have much a history with 22 anyway.
    When the Eagles brought Jeremiah Trotter back, Mark Simoneau had his 54. I don’t think any money was involved, Trotter got his number back by washing Simoneau’s car or something. It’s not really a big deal, James Hardy’s gonna be a 2nd year player and the Bills are gonna give TO the number he’s identified with. It’s good for sales and for image, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re catering to him.

  5. KBall7326 says: Mar 11, 2009 11:51 PM

    There is no better combination of talent and insanity in the NFL than Terrell Owens. I love it, guys like him make the NFL a lot more interesting.

  6. mad555 says: Mar 11, 2009 11:54 PM

    When Assante Samuel came to the Birds there was no deals, no questions, no nothing when it came to his #22 and one Joseilo Hanson who adorned it before he arrived in town. It was just given to him at the press conference. They would have probably cut Hanson if he even asked what happened to his jersey # when he came to camp.

  7. George C says: Mar 11, 2009 11:55 PM

    Hardy need to worry about making the team once the lustre of his number 2 wears off. Instead of worrying about the number 81, he should worry about learing positioning, and trying to come down with the ball, instead of giving it up to 6″ shorter DB defending him..

  8. jmclarkent says: Mar 12, 2009 12:03 AM

    Hardy will give T.O.’s ego a pat and say something to the effect of “T.O. is so great, it’s an honor to have him rip my number from my chest, not unlike ‘Debo’ from Friday”.

  9. sdffa11 says: Mar 12, 2009 12:05 AM

    its happening

  10. Ze says: Mar 12, 2009 12:09 AM

    yes I’m Captain Obvious too

  11. wkedklwnz says: Mar 12, 2009 12:10 AM

    Owens is and always be DOUCHE!
    Glad he’s not a fin

  12. go_bucs says: Mar 12, 2009 12:13 AM

    hardy should fight like hell to keep the number 81. so owens knows what its like to have a teammate be an a-hole

  13. DavidInTexas says: Mar 12, 2009 12:15 AM

    There he goes! T.O.’s already making friends…
    Hang in there, Buffalo…the leg-humping is just getting started.

  14. neutral_like_sweden says: Mar 12, 2009 12:23 AM

    T.O. is a freaking HOF’er. Who the hell is James Hardy???
    C’mon Florio, stop being ridiculous.

  15. brooks07 says: Mar 12, 2009 12:29 AM

    Perhaps being elite in the NFL means not only getting your number but getting your number without having to respect the guy you’re taking it from.

  16. sultanofslot says: Mar 12, 2009 12:32 AM

    “So if the team doesn’t handle this specific situation properly, it could make it even harder for a guy with a history of locker-room issues to be properly accepted by his newest set of teammates.”
    Way to play the drama queen, Florio.
    I guess if ESPN won’t send Werder up to Buffalo to cover TO’s every move, someone needs to do the job…

  17. MmmHmmm says: Mar 12, 2009 12:35 AM

    And so it begins….
    Man, this sh*t is more entertaining than any daytime television. T.O and Dennis Rodman should have their own show> “Prime Time with 2 DQ.” Add RuPaul into the mix and… That’s Entertainment!

  18. ShimSham says: Mar 12, 2009 12:42 AM

    And so it begins.

  19. snb8818 says: Mar 12, 2009 12:47 AM

    zzzz……

  20. titansfan1988 says: Mar 12, 2009 12:49 AM

    To should just man up and quit acting like a baby and take whatever is given to him. He is lucky the Bills even gave him a chance.

  21. DanSnyder says: Mar 12, 2009 12:50 AM

    Ha right before i clicked on this link i was watching the buffalo bills/TO hitler video and listening to hitler talk about how he just bought a james hardy jersey with the #81

  22. mrf47 says: Mar 12, 2009 1:01 AM

    God forbid that the thought crept into TO’s head that his teammates should not think he’s a total D-Bag….I mean that they should like him….

  23. Slow Joe says: Mar 12, 2009 1:04 AM

    It’s started already. This should be fun.

  24. Patscantcheatkharmabitches says: Mar 12, 2009 1:10 AM

    It’s just another example of it being TO’s world and F everyone else. Ther will be plenty of apologists. He should have to buy the # or do without. He is all about him. Screw the team.
    Oh, and you yaehoos that say chemistry is not important, you are nuts. Being comfortable in your environment reflects in your job performance. And when you hate being around someone, it makes you uncomfortable. Now, take on all the responsibility of a QB, The reads, the rush, the sorry ass routes run by a wr, the plays, audibles, check downs, and then execution. Then mix in a Jack ass that all he has to do is run the correct route. Then he thinks he can chew you out when you could not get the ball to him. Oh, nevermind that 280lb lineman in your face. And Owens still bitches. But don’t say a word to him about stopping on a route or dropping a ball. How can you say Owens is right? He has two responsibilities and he does that only 75% of the time.
    That said, if you could stick a ball gag in his mouth, he would be perfect.

  25. birdofprey3715 says: Mar 12, 2009 1:17 AM

    Where is Reebok at?! How do they have the power to prevent players from changing their names (Ocho Cinco) or numbers (Julian Peterson had to wait a extra year before reclaiming 98 in Seattle even though it was available)?! There surely is pile of Cowboys jerseys with Owens’ name on them that they must be upset about.

  26. SM1 says: Mar 12, 2009 1:23 AM

    Mr.Florio, Please use the powers that be and get me in touch with Mr. Hardy. I would like to get his agents cut on this deal.Hey. Hey, would you do me a solid?

  27. twohorses says: Mar 12, 2009 1:24 AM

    T.O should wear #88–looks a lot more like a double turd pile.

  28. Galardi says: Mar 12, 2009 1:33 AM

    What a joke. This clown has zero people skills and zero tact. The very textbook definition of “locker room cancer.”

  29. descendency says: Mar 12, 2009 1:48 AM

    Kind of funny that TO can’t even make it to training camp without being involved in drama.

  30. taxistan says: Mar 12, 2009 1:54 AM

    Did not take long did it!

  31. which guy says: Mar 12, 2009 2:06 AM

    Its kinda weird whenever i google “TO haters” this site is the number one result. Nice marketing………….Lets talk football not feelings, I didnt know games were won in the locker room, i thought it was the trenches or something like that.

  32. thegregwitul says: Mar 12, 2009 2:13 AM

    Where is the story, Mike? Your last paragraph says it all; Hardy wasn’t attached to his number, as he wore a different one in college and took the next one available when he was drafted by Buffalo. I’m sure Russ Brandon resolved this issue with Hardy in some way, and even if he didn’t, it’s not like Hardy went through Pop Warner, high school, college and a few years in the NFL with #81, he probably doesn’t even care, as this will get the Buffalo media off his back for at least a year, allowing him ample time to learn the subtle details of route running and pass catching, two skills he was lacking in last season.
    Save the T.O. stories for when he questions Trent Edwards sexuality, or the playcalling, or if the team is on a losing streak and T.O. isn’t seeing the ball enough (every play?), or Jauron and Co. trot out the conservative offense and play for forty-eight yard game tying field goal attempts into the wind, instead of going for the touchdown and the win.
    This doesn’t appear to be an issue…yet.
    j.

  33. justin5117 says: Mar 12, 2009 2:27 AM

    It’s official he is #81, check http://www.buffalobillsproshop.com/

  34. Fade 2 Black says: Mar 12, 2009 2:28 AM

    We wouldn’t recognize his Big Bald Head
    unless he had Number 81 plastered
    on the backside of his shirt!
    Huh..?
    I guess if you invest $4 Million
    in guaranteed dollars
    then you gotta give him the shirt he likes!

  35. dystopianow says: Mar 12, 2009 3:04 AM

    When Gibril Wilson was acquired from the Giants they ripped 28 off of Rashad Baker. I think it’s customary, although if I were a newer player I wouldn’t surrender my number unless I knew the vet was appreciative.

  36. its50 says: Mar 12, 2009 3:07 AM

    It’s media members like you who comment on every little detail about TO and blow everything out of proportion.
    Good job Mike. Dickwad of the night goes out to you.

  37. AngusDawg says: Mar 12, 2009 3:13 AM

    T.O is a HOF’er? what has he done or proven other then being a media whore?

  38. FumbleNuts says: Mar 12, 2009 3:30 AM

    Hardy get ready, here comes “the twist of fate out of nowhere”. And his name is Terrell Owens!

  39. FillyFinatic says: Mar 12, 2009 3:55 AM

    Feed the already inflated ego

  40. vcbhome says: Mar 12, 2009 6:01 AM

    Bring me my popcorn!

  41. DirtyD4 says: Mar 12, 2009 6:29 AM

    Man am i glad the Vikings didnt go after this Douchebag!!!!!!

  42. shaunypoo says: Mar 12, 2009 6:40 AM

    caveat emptor

  43. litzsout619 says: Mar 12, 2009 6:55 AM

    Put T.O. in a skirt, the whiney lil bitch! HE should be #25, it will remind him of all the dropped passes he had last yr!

  44. bigvinnyinjax says: Mar 12, 2009 7:08 AM

    What an idiot. The Bills will start off 2-0 and TO will be flying high. By December they’ll be 4-12 and he’ll be crying again. Just get your career over with please so the rest of us can enjoy football.

  45. xgbx says: Mar 12, 2009 7:30 AM

    And.
    Here.
    We.
    Go!

  46. par4life says: Mar 12, 2009 7:30 AM

    The price has just doubled.

  47. reddog says: Mar 12, 2009 7:47 AM

    I am a long suffering Ills fan….Hardy Sucks! He doesn’t even deserve a number with his pathetic play last season. I like TO’s approach. If the number was on a locker with his name on it when they were showing him around prior to signing a contract, then it is not his problem to worry about especially since Hardy was a bust in year one (even for a rookie WR), so he will either continue to suck and get cut in 2 years or man up and learn his routes and earn his money……….no problem with TO on this one…..I for one can’t wait until TO makes Dick Mauron look like the fool that he is or when TO rips Mauron a new one on the sideline. This team will not make the playoffs in 2009, but at least a few TO meltdowns should be the end of Mauron, Modrak, Guy and the marketing guy (Brandon)!

  48. Zeus Lizard says: Mar 12, 2009 7:56 AM

    Wow, way to make a non-story into something that isn’t…

  49. turbo_dean says: Mar 12, 2009 8:13 AM

    I think that Owens is very angry after being booted from the ‘boys, a spotlight team. I think he had one suitor, the Bills, and begrudgingly took it. He’ll now take his frustrations out on them.
    My prediction is that TO will act out more than ever this year, quit football at the end of the year, but only after costing Jauron his job.
    O_o!

  50. VOR says: Mar 12, 2009 8:16 AM

    I heard a teammate sneezed and TO didn’t say “bless you.”
    You people need a life. Seriously.

  51. NoFingChance says: Mar 12, 2009 8:22 AM

    ROFL.. he’s not even in the door yet.. already it starts.. have fun Bills fans..
    –love Donovan

  52. Vox Veritas says: Mar 12, 2009 8:51 AM

    Kinda funny how some are surprised that Florio’s up TO’s ass with a microscope. Still.

  53. chcgokoala says: Mar 12, 2009 8:54 AM

    IT BEGINS!!!

  54. daddybe1 says: Mar 12, 2009 9:02 AM

    James hardy u just got punked

  55. tbpforlife says: Mar 12, 2009 9:08 AM

    get ready Bills fans, this is what it’s going to be like from here on out, everytime TO farts people are going to spin it and write “TO is gonna erupt” articles. Now I’m glad TO is gone from my Cowboys, because when all is said and done, he will cause a bunch of shit, but the media will cry wolf 100 times before that.

  56. bobinpr says: Mar 12, 2009 9:26 AM

    Foolish Bills, this is clearly the end of your team! You now have a certain Hall of Famer, who management has apparently decided can take number 81 away from your second year WR who has done nothing yet. How dare T.O. expect to wear number 81. How divisive. This clearly starts the collapse of your team.

  57. stewy23 says: Mar 12, 2009 9:27 AM

    neutral_like_sweden had it right with”T.O. is a freaking HOF’er. Who the hell is James Hardy???”
    Here’s the reasons why this isn’t a big deal:
    1. Hardy isn’t attached to the number anyway.
    2. Hardy is going into his second season and has been a major dissappointment so far.
    3. T.O. is a Hall of Famer and he is on a one year loan. Hardy can always get his number back next year when T.O. signs elsewhere.
    You guys (Florio & Co.) need to stop manufacturing drama. T.O. will create enough of it to go around, just give him time…

  58. smiley says: Mar 12, 2009 9:31 AM

    TO just being TO….you would think he would want to make a gesture of good faith with his new team and Hardy. I’ll miss his drops in the NFC East. Hail!

  59. reddog says: Mar 12, 2009 9:41 AM

    turbo_dean – noone should worry about TO costing Dick Mauron his job as he should not have a head coaching job in the first place!! He sucks! 8 full seasons as a head coach and only 1 with a winning record. He couldn’t get a 5-1 team to the playoffs even though the out of division games were against the pathetic NFC & AFC west divisions…..Mauron is awful! If the Ills make the playoffs it will only be b/c TO is phenominal (I doubt that will be the case). More importantly the team will implode and the long suffering Ills fans will get to see Mauron and the rest of mgmt face the fire squad providing the senile old owner can still lift a gun!

  60. Vox Veritas says: Mar 12, 2009 9:52 AM

    “–love Donovan ”
    Yeeeeah McNabb wishes he could take the Eagirls to the heights that the freaking Bills have experienced haha

  61. HarrisonHits says: Mar 12, 2009 9:54 AM

    “the message to the rest of the players is that the front office and the coaching staff will cater to T.O.’s every wish and whim.”
    And this surprises you ? The only owner more senile than Al Davis and willing to let his team sign TO, weak head coach, lousy QBs, no locker room leadership, what did you expect ? They want asses in seats after several poor seasons in a row with fanbase up in arms over playing games in Toronto.
    By game 3 TO will be bitching and whining in the media.

  62. lboogie25 says: Mar 12, 2009 10:03 AM

    Funny how everyone is on the same page regarding Owens.. Until he joins your team and the apologies/enabling begin.

  63. Kevin from Philly says: Mar 12, 2009 10:13 AM

    Forget TO’s jersey – who’s going to reimburse Reebok for all the unsold James Hardy #81’s?

  64. Jeremiah W says: Mar 12, 2009 10:14 AM

    Get off his di@k.
    Who cares? They already had 81 for sale with the name Owens on the back by the time he put his name on paper. but again, who cares? What is the facination with this guy?

  65. Don Corleone says: Mar 12, 2009 10:14 AM

    Much ado about nothing…Expect more of the same from PFT and the likes of their parallel evil, the ESPN Empire. Blah Blah Blah, T.O. did this…Blah Blah Blah, T.O. did that…
    :::NEWSFLASH:::
    Terrell Owens and Lee Evans get into altercation over Owens not flushing the toilet after dropping a deuce.

  66. bcindiana99 says: Mar 12, 2009 10:17 AM

    The Bills are still selling the 81 Hardy jersey too, along with the 81 TO.
    http://www.buffalobillsproshop.com/main_objgroup.cfm?nCategoryID=490&nObjGroupID=1064&sAuxTitle=Jerseys%20-%20Home%20Replica

  67. turdferguson says: Mar 12, 2009 10:36 AM

    Hardy is SHITE. He likely won’t even make the team, so this is a moot point.

  68. fmfnavydoc says: Mar 12, 2009 11:24 AM

    The media watch is on for TO’s first meltdown in Buffalo….has anyone started a pool on when it will happen???
    Mike – any idea on what other teams had talked with “Super Agent” Drew Rosenhaus about his client, prior to TO signing with the Bills? I’m wondering if they jumped at the first contract thrown TO’s way…

  69. shaunypoo says: Mar 12, 2009 11:28 AM

    Florio, thank you for the article, this is the reason I come to this site. It is pure, delusional bullcrap, but this is some of the type of stuff that all of us football fans talk about. If everyone has an opinion of it, keep writing about it. Thanks again and keep up the good work.

  70. neutral_like_sweden says: Mar 12, 2009 11:55 AM

    T.O. has more TD’s then James Hardy has Yards.
    Just think about it.

  71. RuloMeck says: Mar 12, 2009 12:47 PM

    “Yeeeeah McNabb wishes he could take the Eagirls to the heights that the freaking Bills have experienced haha”
    “Heights” like losing 4 SBs in a row? No, it’s not good enough to just make it there, sorry about that.

  72. VOR says: Mar 12, 2009 1:59 PM

    Hardy was interviewed by his hometown station. Here it is chumps. Read it and weep, and wait for the next non-issue to surface:
    “I welcome him [Owens] with open arms because he’s going to help me,” Hardy told WANE-TV. “I’m ready for him to teach me everything.”

  73. texasPHINSfan says: Mar 12, 2009 4:49 PM

    this is ridiculous.
    T.O. needs to be put in his place for once in his LIFE. jesus, the guy always gets his way. THAT is what is irritating about this. he’s gotten “his way” too many times, that he just expects it now. I realize Hardy has to prove himself, but he got #81 fair & square. it’s the principle of the thing to me, not the money.
    T.O. gets to waltz in and grab his stupid number without ANY consideration to the previous player? you shouldn’t have to be a pro-bowler to have a certain entitlement to your number as long as you have a contract with the team.
    it’s just a respect issue, plain & simple. this is a showign of disrespect by Owens & the Bills, IMO. the only way this would be ok in my eyes is if the team or owens approached hardy and asked for it, and hardy gave it up. if that didn’t happen, this is total B.S.

  74. RonO says: Mar 12, 2009 5:58 PM

    St Florio once again in his desperate search for hits to keep his corporate masters fed, uses his National Enquirer training to create controversy where none exists.
    Bills front office gave #81 to Owens. End of story.

  75. josheimers says: Mar 13, 2009 12:41 PM

    Wow! Floria, you should be writing for the National Enquirer you Drama queen! You, and everyone else writing these posts are complete morons! I’m not a huge t.o. fan myself, but I listened to that whole entire interview! There was nothing dramatic about it; no so called beginning of a “controversy.”
    For everyone placing posts on this board, do a little research before making your self sound like an a$$! I mean, c’mon; you are reading an article by a guy who is too big of a loser to work for a reliable network like nflnetwork or espn.

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