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Friday, May 26, 2006

Reggie Bush Pays To Wear Jersey #25 - Darren Rovell, ESPN

I'm not sure Reggie Bush's marketing guy Mike Orenstein is ready to work with the number 25. I gave him the answer; for Bush to have #25 and do a "5 to 25" campaign. I guess he didn't see it!

Bush to wear No. 25 this coming season
By Darren Rovell

Reggie Bush will get to wear No. 5 after all. There will just be a "2" in front of it.

Bush's marketing agent, Mike Ornstein, told ESPN.com on Thursday that his client will wear No. 25 next season for the New Orleans Saints.

Bush will get the number from Saints running back Fred McAfee. Ornstein said that rather than directly pay McAfee a fee for the use of the number, Bush will give half the money he had earmarked for charity to McAfee to use for the charity of his choice. Bush has pledged to donate 25 percent of his jersey sales royalties to Hurricane Katrina-related causes.

"We all went and dug into our pockets, and the city is as devastated today as the day it happened," Ornstein said. "And now, everyone has gone on to the next disaster."

To get No. 5, which he wore in high school and college, Bush needed the NFL Competition Committee to change the league's numbering rules. Currently, running backs are allowed only to wear numbers between 20 and 49. Earlier this week, the committee decided not to change the rules.

"Hopefully, they will change the rules next year so that Reggie can go back to wearing his old number," Ornstein said.

The delay of the decision might have hurt sales of Bush jerseys in the weeks since he was chosen second overall in the NFL draft. Eddie White, a vice president at Reebok, which makes the league's jerseys, said Bush's jersey had ranked first in preorders but is now in second place behind Vince Young's No. 10 for the Tennessee Titans. Young, who wore No. 10 at the University of Texas, has had that number with the Titans since draft day.

"It was a bunch of baloney that not having the No. 5 would hurt his sales," White said. "He could have worn any number, as long as we could have sold it that [draft day] Sunday, like we did for Vince Young and A.J. Hawk and Matt Leinart. But because he didn't have anything, he's behind Vince."

Darren Rovell, who covers sports business for ESPN.com, can be reached at Darren.rovell@espn3.com.


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