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Changing name, number on NFL jersey proves costly for players

NEW YORK -- A wide receiver wanted to alter how the back of his jersey looked, then discovered he had to pay up first.

No, this wasn't Chad Johnson legally changing his last name to Ocho Cinco, but the Oakland Raiders' Jerry Porter trying to switch his number after the 2006 season.

Porter planned to go from 84 to 81 -- until he learned it would cost him about $210,000. The NFL requires that players reimburse Reebok, the league's official supplier, for the value of the jerseys already printed for sale to fans, which would become obsolete after a name or number change.

"Man, there's a couple of nice cars I'd like to get for that money," Porter said at the time.

The more popular the player, the more expensive the switch, said NFL spokesman Greg Aiello.

The Ocho Cinco jersey situation remained unresolved as of Thursday, after he had to wear his old name on his shirt in Sunday's opener. On Wednesday, the Cincinnati Bengals star didn't want to talk about it.

"I'm not sure," Ocho Cinco said when asked where things stood. "I'm not really worried about it. I'm letting the people on the outside take care of that. It doesn't matter what jersey I'm wearing or what name is back there, you're going to get results."