Willie McGinest upset the Pats gave Seau 55?Posted: August 23, 2006
Ty Law’s number 24 wasn’t saved.
He contributed more to the Super Bowl run than McGinest
Willie McGinest has come to grips with the fact that the New England Patriots didn’t want him anymore. That’s just life in the cold-hearted NFL.
But he struggles with why they have given away his uniform number, the one he wore for 12 seasons while helping them win three Super Bowls.
Fellow linebacker Junior Seau will wear No. 55 for the Patriots, the team he joined a few days ago after briefly retiring.
It was obvious Monday that McGinest, now with the Cleveland Browns, considers this a slap in the face.
“If they say I’m somebody who embodied what they represented in the past and helped them win championships and so forth, I think that should have been a situation where ownership should have taken charge,” McGinest said.
“The organization should have stepped up (and set the number aside). They didn’t, so that’s just another indication they were making another, quote-unquote, business move.”
Seau has worn No. 55 throughout his long career with San Diego and Miami. He also wore it at Southern California, as did McGinest, who followed him there.
McGinest said Patriots coach Bill Belichick called to ask his permission and that Seau also called.
“I don’t think that was a decision Belichick should have had to make — or Seau,” McGinest said. “I had a chance to sign with San Diego in the offseason. I don’t even think it would have been an option for me to ask for 55.
“I think they would have said, ‘You’re a great player, we respect you, but we’re kind of putting this number to the side because of Junior,’ and out of respect I wouldn’t have asked.
“At the end of the day, Junior started that number at (USC). He’s the reason I was wearing it. He made it what it is today, passed it down to me. But he had his legacy with it where he was and I created mine where I was.”
For their part, the Browns are still waiting for McGinest to wear any number in a game. Coming off elbow surgery, he has sat out the first two exhibitions, although he’s been practicing.
“I’m just taking my time, working hard to get back on the field,” he said. “I don’t know what the state of emergency is. … Could be this week, next week. Could be Sept. 10. It just depends.”