You see, the thing is, when you change your last name to an arbitrary jersey number that isn't always guaranteed to you if, say, you get traded to another team, you run the risk of putting someone in an awkward situation.
Chad Ochocinco, meet Aaron Hernandez.
The former is the eccentric wideout who decided, like any rational human being, to change his name from Chad Johnson to Chad Ochocinco back in 2008. That was no problem, considering he was on the Bengals and wore No. 85 for his entire career.
Now, however, with the reported trade that sends the wide receiver to New England, there may have to be some negotiations between Ochocinco and Hernandez for a certain jersey number.
Hernandez is no bum off the street, as he was a key member of the Pats' offense as a rookie last year. In his first year out of Florida, the NFL's youngest player caught 45 passes for 563 yards and six touchdowns. Ochocinco saw Hernandez's skills firsthand, as the rookie had a 45-yard catch and run on the Patriots' very first offensive drive last season, which was against Ochocinco's Bengals. Hernandez did, however, wear No. 81 at Florida, a number that was occupied by a certain Randy Moss at the start of last season, so perhaps he'll gladly switch back to the collegiate digits. That doesn't mean he shouldn't try to get what he can from his millionaire teammate.
Generally, when a veteran player wants his jersey number, he gives the player who currently has that number some cash, or maybe even a truck, depending how much the veteran values the number. When your name is actually that number (well, sort of, as Ochocinco actually means "eight five"), you are probably willing to give up a bit more.
Aaron Hernandez, consider this your second-year signing bonus.
What will Chad Ochocinco give up to get No. 85 from Aaron Hernandez?
"I cannot wait to watch this NFL season. If it is half as good as the last two days we are all going to have a ball."
–NBC football analyst Cris Collinsworth
You know, the Pats are going to have to be careful with Ochocinco's touchdown celebration. He might shoot his eye out.
The fact that Travis Pastrana broke his foot and ankle on this trick should keep kids from getting into the sport … but it won't.