Jersey numbers have sometimes been the subject of serious problems in NFL locker rooms. Former Redskins defensive back Ifeanyi Ohalete agreed to sell No. 26 to Clinton Portis for $20,000, then sued Portis for not coming through. Former Giants punter Jeff Feagles sold his jersey number to Eli Manning one year, then sold his new number to Plaxico Burress — but said later that Burress never paid up.
The ultimate confrontation could have come up in New England this week when Chad Ochocinco — the man who changed his name to a bastardized Spanish version of his jersey number — arrived in a locker room where teammate Aaron Hernandez already had 85.
But no problem came up at all. Hernandez simply gave 85 to Ochocinco, for free. Hernandez said he’s perfectly content to switch to 81, which he wore at Florida.
“Chad Ochocinco came to the team, and he’s a great player, and I had a chance to get my college number back, and he obviously wanted #85, and there wasn’t a problem,” Hernandez said, per the Boston Herald. “He deserved it, so I thought he should get it.”
Hernandez sounds like he doesn’t particularly care about his jersey number — or particularly care about getting money out of Ochocinco.
“All of us have a decent amount of money,” Hernandez said. “I definitely should have [asked for something], but I didn’t. It was just a welcome to the team. I’m glad to have him.
Ultimately, Hernandez said, he just wants to be a good teammate.
“Hopefully we get some big things out of him this year,” Hernandez said of Ochocinco. “I thought he may look better and play better in #85, cuz that’s his last name. So why not give it to him?”