The Broncos are expected to release Pro Bowl safety John Lynch this week (he's expected to make an announcement later today, July 31), and that worries me, not because I think it’s a bad move (Lynch, though a leader, was overrated when he got here four years ago and is even more overrated now), but because of jersey sales.
Yeah, jersey sales.
Lynch’s number 47 was one of a handful of Broncos replica jerseys you could find hanging in every Sports Authority or other sports-themed store next to those of quarterback Jay Cutler, running back Travis Henry, cornerback Champ Bailey, and wide receivers Javon Walker, Brandon Marshall and Rod Smith.
But Henry, Walker, Smith and now Lynch are all gone, which leaves fans with few choices (you can still find Jake Plummer jerseys for sale, by the way).
Which jerseys is the team going to hawk now?
Ryan Clady, a rookie offensive lineman? The overachieving Elvis Dumervil? Erik Pears? Chad Mustard?
The team just doesn’t have that many stars.
Every year before the season starts, I consider whose jersey I would buy if I had the money ($79 to $129 depending on the jersey and the store), which I don’t. So far, I have yet to find one I feel comfortable in. Maybe it’s because my only other jerseys are John Elway and Shannon Sharpe. Hard to follow those guys.
My considerations are these: The player needs to be someone relatively well known, someone who I believe is going to be on the team for a while (to justify the cost of the shirt), someone I like, and someone whose name has a little flair to it.
In the recent past, I’ve though about Plummer (didn’t really like him), Mike Anderson and Rod Smith (their last names are too boring), Mike Bell and Al Wilson (were gone before I pulled the trigger), Bailey and Dre Bly (stars who seem like they’d bail on Denver if given the chance) and Ian Gold and Keith Burns (too obscure).
And I really don’t want to reach into history for a custom-made Karl Mecklenburg or Randy Gradishar jersey. I’d like to think the Broncos have a future as well as a past.
Anyway, at some point before September 9, when the Broncos open the season on Monday Night Football against the Raiders, I will need to pick a theoretical jersey (again, I probably won’t buy one). Hopefully, there will be one that fits. – Jonathan Shikes
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