What's in a number?
James Harrison and Jamaal Anderson aren't saying. But when Harrison arrives at Paul Brown Stadium on May 13, Anderson has agreed to give him his No. 92, the one Harrison wore for such distinction as a five-time Pro Bowl for the Steelers.
Usually such matters are the product of a financial arrangement, but Harrison said it didn't cost him anything.
"There was a small negotiation. You treat it like any other business deal. You weigh the pros and cons and you make a decision" Anderson said. "If that's what he said, I guess so. We know what it is. It's a gentlemen's agreement so hopefully both parties go about their ways in getting it complete."
It certainly wasn't a tough parting of the ways for Anderson, even though 92 is the number he wore at Arkansas when the Falcons made him the eighth pick in the 2007 draft. He found out right away numbers don't mean much in the pros if you're a rookie.
"After being on three teams, it's not a big deal to me. Coming out of college I thought I was going to carry my number over into the NFL and I didn't, and at that time I realized it wasn't a big deal to me," Anderson said. "(Chauncey Davis) … had it and I didn't understand the business side about getting it done so I just kept my number. Since I had that and it was already published, I just kept it."
That was No. 98 and when he went to the Colts in 2011, Anderson knew he wasn't getting that since it was the property of Pro Bowl end Robert Mathis. So it was No. 90 and he ended up getting a career-high three sacks. That's why he took No. 90 now.
"I just wanted to be in the 90s. I'm particular on certain (numbers) I'm not going to wear it, but for the most part I know what I'd like to wear," Anderson said.
Anderson played just two games in No. 92 last season for the Bengals before suffering a season-ending torn quad tendon. He's rehab-ready no matter the number and, as always, classy. Harrison's presence puts Anderson in a tougher numbers game because it adds another rusher.
"I congratulated him on signing with the team. I'm happy for him. I wish the best for him," Anderson said. "I asked when he'll be here. It was short and sweet. We went down to business. That's what the phone call was about. We'll catch up on the friendship part or whatever when he gets here."