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Pro Bowl teammates share numbers

January 28, 2012
By JAYMES SONG , The Associated Press

KAPOLEI, Oahu - The Pro Bowl has become a numbers game.

The AFC has five players who wear No. 24, including three cornerbacks, which has caused some confusion with autograph seekers and photographers leading up to Sunday's game at Aloha Stadium.

The quintet of 24s comprises New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, Denver Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey, Houston Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph, San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews and Jacksonville Jaguars special teamer Montell Owens.

Article Photos

AFC Pro Bowl teammates (from left) Ryan Mathews of the San Diego Chargers, Darrelle Revis of the New York Jets, Johnathan Joseph of the Houston Texans, Champ Bailey of the Denver Broncos and Montell Owens of the Jacksonville Jaguars pose Friday.
AP photo

Mathews wore No. 21 at Fresno State, but changed to 24 when he arrived in San Diego.

"(LaDainian Tomlinson) was number 21, so I had to change my number," he said. "I'm sure he wouldn't have minded if I wore it, though. But that's L.T.'s number. I wanted to make my own brand."

Joseph switched from 22 when he left the Cincinnati Bengals after five seasons and joined the Texans.

"It's my first year wearing 24 and I made it to the Pro Bowl," Joseph said. "I wouldn't say it's my lucky number, but it's working for me."

Bailey, on the other hand, is making his 11th Pro Bowl appearance and has worn 24 since joining the NFL 13 years ago. He wore No. 4 at Georgia. Bailey acknowledges having so many 24s may create some confusion among fans, but not with the coaches or players.

"We all know each other and we're all going to represent the number real well," he said.

At Friday's practice on the grounds of the players' hotel at the Ko Olina Resort, Revis played the left side while Bailey was on the right.

Revis said there are some similarities between the 24s.

"All of us are great at we do and that's play great football," he said.

While some are selective about their numbers, Owens was willing to take whatever he could get after playing his collegiate ball as No. 33 at Maine.

"I noticed all the 24s out here, but for me, it wasn't even the number I selected at Jacksonville. It was given to me," he said. "I was a guy who came out undrafted and so when you come out undrafted, you better take any number they give you."

For the NFC, there's a pair of 24s - Arizona Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson and Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch - but four 21s.

Cardinals rookie cornerback Patrick Peterson wore No. 7 at LSU, then changed to the standard double-digit NFL number after being selected fifth overall in the 2011 draft.

"It (21) is definitely the hottest number out there and a lot of guys are representing it well," Peterson said. "I obviously wanted to follow that trend as well."

It came at a cost, which Peterson wouldn't disclose. He purchased the number from Cardinals teammate Hamza Abdullah, who wore No. 21 before Peterson joined the team. Abdullah is now 23, but apparently still has his old number in his heart. He tweets from HamzaAbdullah21.

Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson is among the NFC's four 21s.

"But there's an elder statesman 21 and that would be me," said the 14-year NFL veteran.

Woodson wanted to be 21 back when he first joined the Oakland Raiders, but that number was taken by Eric Allen, so he picked 24. Woodson nabbed No. 21 when he joined the Packers.

"I was leaving Oakland behind and moving on to another chapter of my life so I wanted to change it and 21 was there, so I took it," he said. "(In the end), it's all about the names on the jersey. That's what counts."



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