Tuesday, July 24, 2007

When $50,000 means nothing to you
but class does

When the Houston Texans signed veteran running back Ahman Green during the off-season, there was only one, small problem.

The 10-year veteran had worn the number 30 throughout his career, and he wanted to keep it. It seems a silly thing, but when your face is covered with a helmet, your number is what fans see, and football players are strongly identified with their numbers.

But on the Houston Texans squad, #30 is defensive back Jason Simmons. Simmons is no Hall of Famer, but he's a solid dependable 10-year veteran who has been with the Texans since the franchise began in 2001.

This problem has come up before, and you can imagine there's some pressure from management to bend and make the new guy happy. Usually that incoming superhero shells out some money to the guy with the magic number. But, really, what does money mean to these guys, given the huge paychecks they command during their active years?

So Simmons set the price for #30 at $50,000. Only he didn't want the money.

This year, Ahman Green will be #30 for the Houston Texans, and Jason Simmons will be #22.

And, thanks to $25,000 from Green and $25,000 from Texans owner Bob McNair, Regina Foster and her seven-year-old autistic son, Reginald, have their own house. The price of that uniform number was, by Simmons' terms, a down-payment for a single parent.

Classy guys.


Gabe said...

I'm hoping that this becomes something even bigger. I know that a lot of people are taking notice to it and hopefully, just as it became the norm to pay the person a large amount of money for a numberr, it might become a regular occurance for that money to be a donation.

ronnie said...

Classy is right. In light of the horrible dog-fighting ring scandal, this guy just restored my faith in the decency of some professional football players.

Nostalgic for the Pleistocene said...

This beautiful story started my day on a real nice note!

Brian Fies said...

Not the same situation, but I remember when Joe Montana--whose identity was #16 as much as Namath's was #12--ended his career with the Kansas City Chiefs, which had retired their #16 worn by Len Dawson. Unlike Green and Simmons, Montana didn't really have a choice. A retired jersey is retired. But if anyone could've thrown a tantrum and gotten his way, it was Montana. Yet I remember being impressed by how graciously he put on #19 with no fuss and full respect for the history of the team he was joining. Assuming I remember correctly, that was pretty classy, too.

Uncle Jed said...

It is a great illustration of how perspective defines so many decisions. What could be easily dismissed by one person as just another number, can have enormous impact on the life of somebody else.

I guess the same could be said about the money too...