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Steelers rookie Daniel McCullers gave James Harrison No. 92 without a fee

Pittsburgh Steelers' rookie nose tackle Daniel McCullers was given the No. 92 when he made the 53-man roster, but that didn't last long as the rookie gave the number back to returning, legendary linebacker James Harrison.

Justin K. Aller

By Dale Grdnic

PITTSBURGH -- The stories are legendary where young athletes give up their uniform numbers to new veterans joining their team, with the long-time pros often paying considerable sums to acquire their favorite digits.

Massive Pittsburgh Steelers rookie nose tackle Daniel McCullers apparently wasn't aware of this practice.

"I just handed to him, basically,'' McCullers said after giving up his No. 92 jersey to James Harrison after the 12th-year veteran re-signed with the Steelers. Harrison terrorized opposing quarterbacks and ball-carriers for a decade from his right outside linebacker spot for the Steelers.

It's not that Harrison couldn't have paid for the jersey. Even though he was heavily fined by the NFL during his tenure in Pittsburgh, Harrison also made millions in guaranteed money. McCullers was told about some of the stories where athletes paid to retrieve their jersey numbers.

Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis agreed to pay defensive back Ifeanyi Ohalete $40,000 for No. 26, but after Ohalete was released by the team, he accused Portis of stopping payments and paying only half the agreed sum. A trial was scheduled to determine if the agreement was binding.

Punter Jeff Feagles, formerly of the New York Giants, wore No. 10 until he sold it to then-rookie quarterback Eli Manning in exchange for a one-week vacation in Florida. Then Feagles switched to No. 17, which he sold this off-season to wide receiver Plaxico Burress in exchange for a new outdoor kitchen at his home in Phoenix.

The latest number-buying story comes from then-Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Darrelle Revis, who, according to Paul Lukas of ESPN's Uniwatch, paid Mark Barron $50,000 for the right to wear the No. 24 jersey which he wore during six seasons with the New York Jets.

"I didn't get that, nothing, but that's OK,'' the 6-7, 352-pound McCullers said. "He deserves it. He's a good player.''

Players such as Revis, along with other long-term veterans, likely are defined by their numbers as well as by their play. That isn't the case for McCullers, who now dons No. 62. Neither 92 nor 62 have any special meaning for him.

"The number doesn't define a person,'' McCullers said. "You've got to make it look good. So, that's what I plan on doing with No. 62.''

McCullers hasn't yet gotten that chance. Although he's on the Steelers' 53-man roster, he has been inactive for each of the opening three games.

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