Reed Doughty Just Got Paid Again
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."
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