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Expect Tom Brady to get Chris Godwin’s No. 12 with the Bucs. It might cost him.

A brief history of players selling jersey numbers to new teammates, with cameos by Darrelle Revis and Chad Ochocinco.
Tom Brady wearing any number other than 12 seems unthinkable.
Tom Brady wearing any number other than 12 seems unthinkable. [ Times ]
Published Mar. 20, 2020|Updated Mar. 20, 2020

Now that Tom Brady has officially joined the Bucs, we can turn our attention to important questions, like this: How can Brady wear No. 12 if that jersey number is already taken by Pro Bowl receiver Chris Godwin?

Godwin said on a team video that his phone has been blowing up over the last 24 hours with people asking about it.

“I think it will be very interesting whatever happens,” said Godwin, whose Twitter handle, notably, is @CGTwelve_. "We haven’t talked about it. We talked briefly, but hadn’t mentioned that at all. Obviously, if he doesn’t want it or isn’t making a big deal about it, I’m definitely going to keep it. But we’ll see how that goes. I think just out of respect for what he’s done, what he’s accomplished, just kind of the for the career he’s built for himself. You’ve got to kind of lean into that respect, you know? We’ll see. We’ll see how it goes.”

Because Brady has his TB12 brand (which makes even more sense in Tampa Bay), you can bet he will end up keeping that number with the Bucs. These things have a way of working themselves out.

Related: With Tom Brady in the fold, will Bucs fill up Raymond James?

Back in 2013, the Bucs had a similar situation when a high-priced, big-name free agent came from the Northeast and wanted his familiar number from a promising young player. When Darrelle Revis was introduced to Bucs fans, safety Mark Barron said he was “thinking about” giving No. 24 to the superstar cornerback from the Jets.

A few weeks later, he did — in exchange for a reported $50,000, which was believed to be a record for a number swap, according to the Tampa Bay Times’ archives. Barron switched to No. 23.

Darrelle Revis got his number ... for a price.
Darrelle Revis got his number ... for a price.

Former Giants punter Jeff Feagles twice capitalized on his jersey number, according to ESPN. First, he gave up No. 10 to quarterback Eli Manning when the No. 1 overall pick paid for Feagles’ one-week vacation in Florida. Feagles later sold his No. 17 to receiver Plaxico Burress for an outdoor kitchen.

Brady should be familiar with the practice, because it happened at least once in New England. Chad Ochocinco obviously needed to wear No. 85, considering he changed his name to reflect that number. But it was already in use by tight end Aaron Hernandez.

Related: Timeline: the highs and lows of Tom Brady’s NFL career

Accounts vary; Hernandez and Ochocinco both said at the time that no money was exchanged, but a book later said the former Gators standout sold the number for $50,000 … which was later used in a drug deal. Regardless, Ochocinco got to wear ocho cinco.

So even though the Bucs already have a No. 12 on the roster, expect Brady to continue to be TB12 in Tampa Bay. He just might have to pay for it.


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