Athletes often have a reason for the number they wear. Whether it was worn by their childhood idol or they have worn it since Little League or even the way it looks on them. At Michigan State, T.J. Duckett enjoyed the number 8 because of the “infinite look”. For B.C Lions linebacker Adam Bighill, that number is 44. The second year CFL player was “bestowed” number 44 at Central Washington University as a symbol of being the leader of their defense. “It was handed down from player to player every year, kind of representing the leader of the defence,” Bighill said. “Determination, toughness, leadership, all that stuff. It is a sacred number. That’s why it means so much to me.”
Number 44 was being worn by another B.C. Lions player during Bighill’s rookie campaign, which was spent mostly on special teams. Last year, he wore number 50. While you wouldn’t think many fans would wear the jersey of a special teams player, there are a fair number of them in British Columbia. When 44 became available this season, Bighill jumped on it. He’s now the fourth-leading tackler in the CFL. And while the number change (and increased playing time) have resulted in better results and more fans, the 23-year old feels bad for those that bought his number 50 jersey.
Per the Vancouver Sun:
“[T]he B.C. Lions’ linebacker noticed a fan at BC Place wearing his former No. 50, so he called to the man and offered to replace the old jersey with his new one. Bighill paid for the new uniform and signed it. The fan bought two more himself and Bighill autographed those, too. He says the free trade-in is a standing offer to anyone who bought his old jersey.”
“I’ve said they can give me the 50, and I’ll buy them the 44,” Bighill told The Sun. “If I was a fan, I’d be upset if I just bought someone’s jersey and they flipped numbers. So if they want to wear my number, I’ll give them the right one.”
Great gesture. And while there may not be a ton of number 50′s out there, Bighill is offering to replace them out of his own pocket. How deep are Bighill’s pockets? I don’t know exactly, but CFL starters and “superstars” make anywhere from $60,000 to $120,000 (CFL teams have a salary cap of roughly $4 million). I would assume that Bighill makes less than that seeing as he was a special-teamer last season. Bottom line, it’s a tremendous offer by a young kid. Imagine the dent in Michael Jordan’s or Kobe’s bank account if they offered to place all of the 23′s and 8′s that were out there.