Bush has No. 25 in the cards
Updated: May 16, 2006, 1:51 PM ET
Bush has No. 25 in the cardsBy Darren Rovell
The NFL has not denied Reggie Bush's request to wear No. 5 this upcoming season, but early indications are that the New Orleans Saints draft pick will not get his way.
Sean Gardner/Getty Images
Reggie Bush wore No. 5 during the Saints minicamp.
One thing is for sure, it won't be "in the cards" for Bush.
The team informed the NFL Players Association on Tuesday that their top draft pick will wear the No. 25 for this weekend's Rookie Premiere photo shoot, according to Pam Adolph, vice president of apparel operations for Players Inc., the union's marketing arm. For years, Players Inc. has been putting on the event so that the card companies can release cards with players in their jerseys before the season starts.
The team allowed Bush to wear the No. 5 at its recent minicamp and it was Bush's marketing agent Mike Ornstein's desire to have his client wear the number at the photo shoot. "Until it has been decided, we are going to go with number 5," Ornstein said before the decision had been made.
Ornstein originally said that Bush would donate 25 percent of all the royalties he received from jersey sales toward Hurricane Katrina charities if the league granted him the right to wear No. 5. But Ornstein told ESPN.com on Tuesday morning that Bush has now agreed to make the donation no matter what number he wears.
Almost all the players have their numbers set by the time of the shoot, though it's not unprecedented that a player has worn a different number jersey at the shoot than he did once the season started. In 2004, Cleveland Browns tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. wore No. 11, but at the end of the preseason, Winslow convinced fullback Aaron Shea to allow him to wear No. 80.
Saints running back Fred McAfee currently wears the No. 25, so it's not exactly clear whether that number will definitely be worn by Bush. Calls placed to Saints officials were not immediately returned.
Bush wore No. 5 in high school and at the University of Southern California, but under current NFL rules, running backs are only allowed to wear numbers 20 through 49. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told ESPN.com on Monday that the owners will not be voting specifically on a Bush exemption. In order for Bush to be granted No. 5, the numbering rules themselves would have to be changed.
"Truthfully, with Reggie Bush, it's not going to matter what number he wears," Josh Goodstadt, an executive with Players Inc., which oversees the production of more than 32 million packs of NFL player trading cards each year. "He's already so hot in the trading card world and the input we've gathered from our licensees is that the number he wears, in the long run, won't help or hurt the sales of his cards."
With the jersey number still undecided, preorders of Bush's jerseys have slowed down a bit, according to Reebok vice president Eddie White.
"Right after the draft, Bush jerseys were red hot," White said. "Now it's more like lukewarm because there are retailers who are cutting back on their orders due to the uncertainty."
White, who noted that orders for Bush jerseys and Vince Young jerseys have each surpassed 20,000, said he predicts that will all change once a number is arrived at.
On Monday, Bush -- in conjunction with his sponsor adidas -- contributed $50,000 to the Holy Rosary School, a learning disabilities school in Louisiana that was in danger of closing.
Bush surprisingly wore Nikes at minicamp despite a multi-million dollar deal with adidas. Ornstein said Bush's adidas shoes had not yet arrived.
Ok, this dude has GREAT PR people. GREAT. Now he will donate the loot no matter what jersey number he gets? I'm in wub. :oops:
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