Sportress of Blogitude

Jets punter sells No. 1 jersey to Michael Vick for $10K, donates money to charity

The negotiations that occur between a high-profile player that joins a team and a lower-profile player that owns a number coveted by the recently signed star have become commonplace in pro sports. But what New York Jets punter Ryan Quigley did when new quarterback Michael Vick recently offered him a fat stack of cash in exchange for his No. 1 jersey is rare indeed.

When Vick originally signed with the Jets, he realized he would not be getting the No. 7 on the jersey — the number Vick has worn with the Philadelphia Eagles and before that, the Atlanta Falcons — as incumbent starting QB Geno Smith wears that number and odds were the second-year QB would be hesitant to relinquish the number given his prominent position on the roster, not to mention that Vick himself acknowledged he’s Smith’s backup, stating, “Geno’s the starting quarterback for that football team.”

With all those factors working against him and standing in the way of him obtaining the No. 7 jersey, Vick then announced last week that he intended to wear the No. 8 with the Jets, although he came out later and said he was not going to wear that number.

During this entire jersey number saga, Vick apparently gauged Quigley’s interest in relinquishing the No. 1 jersey. Vick apparently offered the punter $10,000 for the number, something Quigley strongly considered. Bearing in mind that he’s a punter and earns an average annual salary of $495,000, certainly not a pittance but not as much as Vick and other stars make, Quigley seriously pondered the offer, realizing that $10,000 is a decent chunk of change.

Despite the ability to reap a decent monetary award for the jersey number, Quigley’s conscience and desire to do the right thing came out, and he countered the cash offer from Vick, but instead of negotiating a larger sum, the punter said he would agree to the offer if Vick agreed that the money would be donated to charity.

Quigley, a native of Myrtle Beach, S.C., asked Vick to donate half of the $10K to the Teen Angel of North Myrtle Beach, a charity that seeks to battle teenage homelessness, with the other half going to the Boys and Girls Club of New York.

Vick agreed, with Quigley saying that the quarterback was thrilled with the idea, apparently exclaiming, “Oh of course, that’s awesome!”

Via the Star-Ledger:

In Monday’s announcement, Vick said, “I looked at the available numbers and thought I would go with No. 8 for my new start with the Jets. It just didn’t look right. I didn’t feel right. I started talking with Ryan about No. 1. I think it’s great that Ryan was willing to change as long as it was for a good cause. I loved his idea.”

Said Quigley, in the announcement: “Most of the time in the NFL, if a veteran requests your number, you work out a financial agreement between the two players. I was not interested in the money for myself. I wanted to find a way to help some others.”

Quigley, despite how nice it would have been to just pocket the money, realized just how much $5,000 can mean to a charity (via Shutdown Corner):

“Ten thousand dollars is a lot of money, especially for a guy like me early in my career. For a second, I thought that, but then I thought that I can do some good with it. You can give back in so many ways and money is one way,” Quigley said.

“It was one of those things – I talked with my mom and my agent. I didn’t even second-guess it. It felt right. It came out of nowhere. Originally Vick chose the No. 8. We talked before that he might want my number and I listened to it. Then he chose No. 8 and I had this idea in my head from the first time we talked two weeks ago. I had this idea of giving back and using this money for good. Then he comes back and I thought it was all over with. He said he really wanted that number.

“When I presented him with the idea of the money not going to myself but giving back to my hometown and half to the New York area, it was an easy decision for me, it really was.”

What Quigley lost in quick cash he more than made up for with a considerable infusion of good, no great, karma. Well done.