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    Keep five alive



    by Peter King

    I know this isn't a typical lead for Monday Morning Quarterback, but I find it absurd that the NFL Competition Committee, which will debate the issue this week, might not allow Reggie Bush to wear number 5 for the Saints. Here are five reasons why I think they should let him.

    1. It would not be the end of Western civilization. Running backs, according to the league, are not allowed to wear single-digit numbers, and I'm sure the NFL's concern about Bush's request has something to do with setting a bad precedent for other players to change to nontraditional numbers. (Oh, you mean like Keyshawn Johnson, a wide receiver, wearing the decidedly non-wide-receiver number 19?) The Saints currently don't have a number in the 20s or 30s available for Bush; they'd have to get a current player to switch jersey numbers. I hear it will likely be Fred McAfee, the 15-year veteran back who now wears number 25. Number changes happen all the time, but in this case, why force it? And this would not be precedent-setting. The NFL saw to that when it gave Johnson, the top pick in 1996, permission to wear 19.

    2. Everyone knows Bush as Number 5. After leaving New Orleans following the draft two weekends ago, I heard that the league's Competition Committee would listen to an appeal from Bush and the Saints and then make its decision some time this week. What the committee was told by Mike Ornstein, Bush's marketing maven, is that all of Southern California knows Bush as Number 5, which he has worn since he was a high school star, and that California is a lucrative merchandising market for the NFL. More people in that area will buy a Saints jerseys with the number 5 on it than would buy a Saints jerseys with a 25.

    "He's synonymous with 5,'' said Ornstein, who sent this week's Sports Illustrated, which features Bush in a computer-generated Saints number 5 uniform, to each member of the Competition Committee and to several league officials, urging them to allow Bush to wear 5. And he told them how wild New Orleans was over Bush during draft weekend. I can attest to that. Now, Saints fans will be just as wild about him if he wears another number. That's for sure. But is there any good reason to make him do so? That Saints want him to wear 5, too. They helped with his appeal to the league.

    3. Paul Hornung wore 5. You might remember him. Played at Notre Dame. Played for Vince Lombardi and the Green Bay Packers. Was elected to the Hall of Fame. When he took the field wearing number 5, the earth did not spin off its axis.

    4. Merchandising, people. Last year, the sales of Randy Moss and Terrell Owens jerseys earned those players more than $1 million each. Here's how the merchandising works: Say a Reebok replica jersey is sold in the store or online for $150. The NFLPA gets 7.5 percent of the proceeds of the jersey. That's $11.25. Of that $11.25, $9 is turned over to the player. There is no doubt in my mind that the hottest jersey in the league in the preseason would be Bush's number 5 Saints jersey ... much hotter than if Bush were given, say, 25. That leads us to something the NFL will definitely understand....

    5. Helping Katrina victims. Bush is smart. Ornstein is shrewd. How about if Ornstein calls a member or two of the Competition Committee and says, "Look, Reggie will take half of his proceeds from jersey sales this year and give them to Katrina relief. Think about it. That's maybe $750,000. It might be a million. You know how far 750K goes in the Gulf Coast? It'll rebuild seven houses in the Lower Ninth Ward -- if they ever get around to having a plan for the reconstruction there.''

    The NFL has taken major strides toward helping New Orleans and the Gulf Coast recover from Katrina. What better way to take further steps than to have Louisiana's new hero stand in front of a news conference this weekend at the Saints' minicamp and say, "I truly appreciate that the NFL did for me what it did for another USC player, Keyshawn Johnson, by allowing me to wear a nontraditional number for a running back. To show my appreciation, I'm here today to announce that I'm donating half of the proceeds of all my jersey sales to help Katrina relief.

    "The hurricane and flooding happened more than eight months ago, but we've got to focus on doing more for the people of this area, in both Louisiana and Mississippi. I hope that I'm able to give more than $1 million to help rebuild the shattered lives of people in places like the Lower Ninth Ward here in New Orleans and in places like Pass Christian and Biloxi, Miss. So for every one of you who buys my jersey, you'll be donating money to the people who still desperately need it.''

    Let's say people get fired up about this jersey, and buy it in record numbers. Imagine the power of Reggie Bush handing the mayor of New Orleans and the governor of Mississippi twin checks in October. That, ladies and gentlemen, is power. The power of 5.

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    Insane padder Really needs a life BIRD33's Avatar
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    Re: Keep five alive



    It's a number, who gives a shit.
    See You In Toledo

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    Re: Keep five alive



    reggie bush and the saints

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