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NFL Jerseys: Thank you Free Agency and My Infinite Wisdom

We’ve all done it or that’s what I tell myself to ease the embarrassment. I’m talking about purchasing that Mr. Irrelevant jersey. That player you think is really going to be something and turns out to be a cap casualty or a trade commodity. With Free Agency this discussion no longer encompasses Mr. Irrelevant alone, how about Mr. Franchise who was great for the team, but gets offered more money to extend his career elsewhere? I’ve always wondered what the average fan does with these jerseys. In most cases you purchased an Authentic or Replica jersey by spending between $50 - $300 for your prized possession. Do you tuck it away in the closet? Put it on EBay? Wear it proudly?

I’ve purchased three jerseys over the course of my Buccaneer fandom: Warrick Dunn (Replica), John Lynch (Authentic), and oh the pain, Chris Simms (Authentic). I think the Dunn jersey cost me $54, the Lynch jersey was around $130, and the Simms jersey was around $70. The replica was purchased at Raymond James Stadium and the two Authentics came from EBay (aka the life saver, I couldn’t imagine purchasing an Authentic Jersey from or an equivalent retailer, yikes!). I don’t remember what happened to the Dunn jersey, I sold the Lynch jersey on EBay, not that I wouldn’t wear it today; it was big on me when I purchased it and so I let it go (regretfully), and the Simms jersey is hanging in the closet (damn you Gruden!).

As many of you know I’m a Florida State Fan and so it was only natural that I would purchase a Warrick Dunn Bucs jersey as it was glorious when the Bucs called his name on Draft Day. It was unbearable when he left the Bucs via free agency for the Atlanta Falcons and my memory of that jerseys whereabouts has been cloudy ever since. There’s no explanation needed for the John Lynch jersey purchase, his name resonates with every Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan. I’m still baffled as to why he was allowed to leave the organization. Oh Chris Simms, how I hated you in college. I thought there was a lot of hype surrounding you for nothing, all because you played for Texas. I also thought your lack of mobility would kill you in Tampa because our Offensive line absolutely sucked. I was praying the Bucs wouldn’t draft you and then they did. From there the hatred stopped. I began to think Simms could be the franchise QB we’ve been longing for due to his effortless accurate throws in Training Camp. After his ’05 Playoff run I was sold and purchased his jersey. Oh was I wrong. As it turns out, I was right about the offensive line killing him, but I was oh so wrong about him becoming this organization’s Franchise Quarterback.

I don’t know what I’ll end up doing with my Simms jersey. Maybe I’ll scour the internet for a seamstress that can take his name and numbers off and replace them with the next Mr. Irrelevant on the Bucs, Dexter Jackson? The NFL should set-up a Jersey Trade-In option on so fans can turn in their retread jerseys for the chance to purchase another retread jersey at a discounted price. Wouldn’t that be nice.

So let’s hear it, I know I’m not the only one!!!