Monday, second-year linebacker Reggie Walker — a one-time undrafted guy, although a player who earned time last season as a rookie — was working out when I asked perhaps the most important question … at least right now, given that on-field work is still weeks away, and given that the Cardinals just signed free-agent linebacker Joey Porter.
“Are you keeping 55?” I asked, as in the jersey number he currently wears and the jersey number Porter has had his whole career. “I hope so,” Walker said, before pausing and acknowledging, “I hope I get something.”
Officially, Porter hasn’t been issued a jersey number. I asked Clark Haggans, a good friend of Porter’s, and he just shook his head and said, “I’m staying out of that one.” My guess is that, eventually, Porter and Walker will come to a meeting of the minds and Porter will end up with 55, but you never know. Already, Paris Lenon started as 51 and got 53 got 51 from fellow newcomer Stevie Baggs, who is now 57. I’m expecting possible flip-flops in the secondary too, now that Antrel Rolle (21) is gone, newcomer Kerry Rhodes (currently 21) is on the lookout for the 25 he had in New York and last year’s 25, Bryant McFadden, suddenly may have the shot at his Steelers’ number (20) assuming Ralph Brown doesn’t return.
It matters. I mean, I remember Cardinals safety Ifeanyi Ohalete dealing with courtrooms back in 2005 when he sued former teammate Clinton Portis, who got 26 from Ohalete when Portis arrived in Washington and then didn’t pay off the deal after Ohalete was cut from the Redskins. It’s about more than a number. It’s about an identity. Just ask 9-0, er, Darnell Dockett.
That doesn’t mean a guy like Walker won’t have to carve out a different identity, though. Only one guy is going to be able to drive 55 in the Cards’ locker room.
Tags: Bryant McFadden, Darnell Dockett, jersey numbers, Joey Porter, Kerry Rhodes, Paris Lenon, Reggie Walker, Stevie Baggs
Posted in Blog | 46 Comments »