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The Caw: Jerseys Are NFL Currency

Posted Nov 3, 2012

Ray Rice and Trent Richardson will swap jerseys after Sunday’s game, win or lose.

I know a few fans who hang jerseys up in their “Man Cave” or whatnot. Even my doctor has them lining the waiting room.

But I didn’t know it’s common practice for NFL players to collect jerseys too. They’re apparently currency between NFL opposing players.

Ravens running back Ray Rice hinted at that this week, saying he plans on swapping with Browns rookie running back Trent Richardson after Sunday’s game. I followed up with him to see if this is common practice.

“It’s huge,” Rice said of the practice of exchanging. “People want them for memories. Trust me, these won’t go on eBay.”

Rice has a modest, yet growing jersey collection. He already snagged running back Jamaal Charles’ after the Chiefs game, then running back Arian Foster’s after the Texans game. He’s also got a Ricky Williams jersey from last year.

Richardson seemed touched by Rice’s request, and he accepted the trade offer.

I want a Ray Rice jersey, man,” Richardson told the Cleveland press. “If Ray says he wants my jersey, I’ll send him one of my jerseys. That’s big, because he’ll be in Canton, Ohio in the Hall of Fame, and that’s a moment you’ve got to cherish if he’s saying he wants one of my jerseys.”

Rice responded: “He can have mine. No matter what – win, lose or draw.”

Rice had often been asked for his jersey in previous years, but had never requested one in return. He’s also had teammates snag his rags. Ray Lewis and Vonta Leach each snagged a Rice jersey.

“It’s just a mutual respect thing,” Rice said. “You go into somebody’s basement and see a guy’s jersey, it’s obviously because you respect them.”

Rice called Lewis before wearing it to let his mentor know."

Rice wore Lewis’ jersey to practice on Friday, as the team has a tradition of mixing and matching jerseys among teammates.

“He told me to keep [the jersey] relevant,” Rice said. “He said I had to dress like him with the hoodie and the sweatpants. … He said, ‘Be there for me. Keep my name relevant around there. I’ll be back soon.’”

Lewis hasn’t been around the team facility since he tore his triceps on Oct. 14. I asked Rice when he thinks Lewis will return to Owings Mills, Md.

“After he’s done all his little things – he’s got to take care of himself – I’d say middle of next week,” Rice said. “Just to be back here and start rehabbing here. I’ll be excited to see him because Ray Lewis is the modern day Superman.”

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