I have sported three Raiders jerseys over the course of my life – a Jack Tatum onesie (1983), Tim Brown (1987-2004), and Jerry Porter (2005). I had a Bo Jackson one as well but never wore it because my dad told me not to be a bandwagon jumper. As it turns out, he was talking about switching allegiances to other teams, not players, but I was about 7 at the time and didn’t really understand the difference.
Anyway, the year before last, I decided it was time for a change and settled on Jerry Porter’s #84. I thought Porter was a jerk with serious personality problems but there was no one else that was worth a damn on our team. Besides, I thought he’d team up with Randy Moss to become one half of the most feared wide receiving tandem in the NFL.
Shame on me for trying to overlook the negatives.
Al Davis gave Porter more than $10M in guaranteed money with a pre-season signing bonus; Porter responded by sleepwalking through 2005. He posted two 100-yard games, a seven-reception game high, and a 12.4 yards-per-catch average. Awesome effort, Jerry. Good lookin out.
After that stirring display of mediocrity, he clashed with Art Shell and demanded a trade. I became so enraged that I poured gasoline on his jersey and burned it in the street. That’s when I brought ole trusty #81 back out the closet; I could always wear that with pride, right? No. Not even close.
Now in the good graces of both Coach Lunch Money and Tim Brown, Jerry Porter is trading in #84 for Brown’s #81.
"I talked to him yesterday, and he feels some people might trip, but it’s been four years since I had that jersey on,” said Brown.
Some people might trip? Tim, you’re Mr. Raider. You’re the leading receiver in the history of the goddamn franchise. Let’s pass your number on to the obnoxious cunt in the gold-plated heavyweight title belt! That sounds like a great idea! Come on.
According to Porter, this is all okay because he’s turning a new leaf and he needs the most dignified number in the Raiders franchise to make the transition complete.
"I am truly honored and excited about changing my number to 81," Porter said. "For me, the new number represents a new start, a new beginning and new attitude."
Well it’s too bad you didn’t do this last year. Maybe we wouldn’t have ranked last in the NFL with 16 total offensive touchdowns, asshole.
This new leaf business is total bollocks. The expectations of wearing #81 aren’t the same with the Silver & Black as they are with, say, the Eagles or the Cowboys. It requires more than playing with a steely resolve; it necessitates a willingness to do whatever is necessary to help this franchise no matter what adversity stands in the way. Is Jerry Porter honestly capable of that? I’m all for this fresh start of his but a tiger can’t change his stripes.
It will require a complete re-wiring of Porter’s brain for him to come close to being anything like Tim Brown. And I don’t say that because I think Brown is God or a legendary, Hall of Fame-caliber receiver whose number should be in the heavens. He was neither. Tim Brown was simply very good and very reliable for a long period of time. But he exuded class and professionalism every day of his 17 seasons in the NFL, proving himself as an incomparable leader and a tireless worker. If anyone is going to wear his number, let it be the guy that embodies what he was all about, not a #2 receiver that takes his cues from Terrell Owens.
Hattip: The Hater Nation