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Reed Doughty Just Got Paid Again

Twenty-three in Oakland, 23 in Washington. (By Jamie Squire - Getty)

Shortly after DeAngelo Hall signed with the Redskins, safety Reed Doughty got a call from ex-teammate Vernon Fox. Fox pointed out that Hall had been wearing No. 23 in Oakland. That mattered insofar as Doughty recently sold his previous number to Shaun Alexander, in the process reclaiming his old number. Which was 23. And so, Doughty joked today, he figured he'd better come in to Redskins Park and see if there was another payday in his future.

The answer was yes.

"I want to have my number, I like 23," Doughty told me, moments after a deal with Hall had been struck. "But at the same time, we're building a house. I'd rather have furniture than a number."

In truth, Doughty--who's on injured reserve--was coming to the Park anyhow today for treatment. And he actually did like No. 23--he wore it during his rookie season, his parents have a closet filled with 37s and 23s, and he "wanted to wear one of those numbers so I wouldn't have to buy them more jerseys," he said with a laugh.

But when two former Pro Bowlers show up within a two-month span, and both want your jerseys, and both have the checkbooks to pay for them, well, you make it happen.

"Brilliant," said Alexander, who argued that he deserved a cut for helping ensure Doughty would be in 23 during Hall's arrival.

"He's making out like a bandit," Todd Yoder said. "That's the only guy I've ever heard of in my history of paying that switched jerseys, got paid, and then switched jerseys again and got paid."

"If somebody wanted to buy 61 for 20 grand, I couldn't sell it fast enough," Casey Rabach concluded.

Now, I don't actually know the selling price for either number, and Doughty wasn't giving it up. So my source for the estimated number comes from Fred Smoot, a noted authority on basically all subjects in the universe.

"It always depends on the buyer," Smoot told me. "Like, if the buyer got big bucks, they're gonna charge 'em big bucks. So I'd say about 20 stacks."

With 20 stacks, a normal person could buy a functioning automobile, or 556 Ladell Betts replica toddler jerseys, or a few tickets to this weekend's game that could then be re-sold for profit to the invading Dallas hordes. But jersey numbers matter on that football field, as Smoot--who has worn 1, 2, 3, 4, 21 and 27 in his playing days--attempted to explain.

"Like, if I walked out there with a 33 on, it would feel funky on me, it would feel like a big wife-beater," he said. "You know, it's a football thing. Maybe you've got a lucky pen or something, or a lucky recorder or something. You know, I've seen people carrying older recorders, because it's like, 'This is the one I started off with.' I don't know, it's sacred to you."

(Smoot upon seeing Doughty today: "What up, Reed? You good? You gonna make some money off another number, ain't you?")

"Sometimes a number gives you an identity," Colt Brennan said into my lucky recorder. "When you played good in a certain number, you just feel a certain way. It's just a subconscious thing, I guess. I always try to figure out if my time ever comes, am I gonna go back to 15 or am I gonna stay with 5, because I've had success with 5. Maybe 5's my NFL number. Maybe 15 was only supposed to be my college number."

Even Doughty, who has now forfeited two numbers he liked in a single season, agreed that they have some special significance to football players.

"It's your identity on the field when you have a facemask on," Doughty agreed. "In baseball, who cares what number you are? But in football, that's how people recognize you. You pick a number, and it's kind of weird, people come up to you and say, 'You look like a 37.' " You feel like that number should identify with you in some way."

It's like Vince Lombardi's fedora. It's like Sarah Palin's rimless specs. It's like Gilbert Arenas's knee brace. The prop makes the icon, and you just can't imagine these guys without their proper digits. And so everyone would pay to retain their number, correct?

"Hell no," Rabach said. "Why? It's only worth something if someone wants to buy it."

Yoder, it turns out, actually sought out equipment manager Brad Berlin after he heard of Doughty's second score of the year.

"If you've got anybody that wants to switch," Yoder told Berlin, "let me know. We'll put that thing up."

By Dan Steinberg  |  November 10, 2008; 1:55 PM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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Can the fans collectively gather some money to buy Tryon's contract out and cut him. The kid is horrible and he doesn't even deserve to wear Skip Hicks #

Posted by: G20FdaCowboys | November 10, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

What are the tax implications of passing a guy an exorbitant amount of money to wear his number?

Reed Doughty is becoming one of those shady companies that buy up domain names only with jersey numbers.

Posted by: TheBaldSpot | November 10, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

RD should sell his jersey again. He needs the money for his kid. Besides, SA ain't going to be around next season.

Posted by: charley42 | November 10, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

at some point danny is going to want his cut.

seriously though, when did this policy of selling numbers come about? players dont OWN those numbers any more than i OWN my phone number at work. i would not be surprised if teams put the kabosh on this type of thing. i can see it leading to a lot of hurt feelings (see Ohalete, Iffy) in the locker room. at the very least, a fixed price should be established, perhaps based upon the difference in salary between the buyer and seller...

that said, i'm glad reed is profiting on this. guy lost his job to a seventh round pick and will probably be outta here next year...

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | November 10, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

I guess he's too low on the food chain for the NFL to step in and stop this from going on. There must not be a lot of left over Reebok #23 jerseys./

Posted by: metatext | November 10, 2008 5:42 PM | Report abuse

"Colt Brennan said into my lucky recorder."


Posted by: Joe_in_Raleigh | November 11, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

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