Bills WR Hardy loses No. 81 to T.O.

One of the perks of having a big-time free agent like Terrell Owens come to town is that a player’s number could become a lucrative commodity. The player who owns the number can sell it to his new teammate, often for a very nice price.

Sometimes it doesn’t always work out. First baseman Mark Teixeira refused to take his traditional No. 23 from Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher after being traded to Anaheim last summer. But sometimes it works out quite nicely. Cowboys rookie Alundis Brice was given a BMW 325i from Deion Sanders in exchange for jersey No. 21 in 1995 — even though Brice admitted he had no attachment to the number.

James Hardy, who wore No. 81 for the Buffalo Bills last season, better not be expecting a payout from Owens, who told Shredd and Ragan of WEDG FM in Buffalo that when he walked into the Bills’ locker room, his name already was on the number.

    “As far as working deals out, I don’t know,” Owens said. “That’s not my department. I think Russ (Brandon, the Bills’ Chief Operating Officer) has to deal with that.”

The Bills cleared up the matter Thursday when they announced that Owens will indeed wear No. 81 and Hardy will switch to No. 84. No word on whether Hardy’s jersey change netted him a big payday.

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