Peppers gets his number with Bears

Julius Peppers got his wish granted with the Chicago Bears.

You know, the one he was seeking besides the $91.5 million, six-year contract.

The Bears have assigned him jersey No. 90, the number he wore for eight seasons with the Carolina Panthers. What’s not known is if Peppers negotiated with Jarron Gilbert, the previous owner of No. 90, or if equipment manager Tony Medlin went to Gilbert’s locker, grabbed the jersey and had a new nameplate sewn on the back.

"Hopefully, he will just give it up out of respect," Peppers said last week. "I'll talk to him about that and see how he feels."

There can be an interesting dynamic when a new player arrives on a team and is an experienced player in the league who would like to continue wearing a number that is already taken. When the Bears signed Kordell Stewart as a free agent in 2003, not one of their better free agent moves, he came from Pittsburgh desiring to keep wearing No. 10. At the time, Henry Burris, a successful quarterback from the Canadien Football League who was getting a cup of coffee in the NFL, was wearing No. 10. As the story goes, Burris wanted a tidy ransom for the number. That didn’t go over well and the team stepped in and made the number switch.

The Bears had no word on what number Gilbert will be assigned, you know, in the event you’re fixing to order a custom jersey. He was originally No. 73 last spring after being drafted in the third round from San Jose State. He switched to No. 90 after linebacker Joey LaRocque was released.

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