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Paysinger gives Rivers 55

New York Giants linebacker Spencer Paysinger, left, wraps

New York Giants linebacker Spencer Paysinger, left, wraps up New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl XLVI football game. (Feb. 5, 2012) Credit: AP

Spencer Paysinger didn’t go to USC. At least not when he was in college. But growing up in Southern Cal and being a big time football player in high school, he got to spend a lot of time around the Trojans. That’s why, when the Giants traded for Keith Rivers this offseason, he knew how important that 55 jersey would be to him.

And that’s why Paysinger simply gave it away.

“It was greatly appreciated,” Rivers said. “It’s been something that’s been kind of a tradition at SC and I’ve just been trying to keep it alive. Fortunately I’ve been able to, especially with Junior [Seau] passing this past offseason. I’m very appreciative of it.”

“That was just to pay respect,” Paysinger said of the move. “I’ve been watching Keith since I was in high school. I used to be in the locker room after practices and games talking to him and everything. I knew he was going to want 55 and it was my first year having it so I wasn’t that attached to it. When I knew that he was coming over I contacted him on Twitter and said ‘Hey, you can have the number, we’ll discuss everything after that.’ But it’s a sign of respect.”

Paysinger didn’t ask for anything in return, although Rivers has been “taking care of him” by buying dinners and other things. “I’ve got him covered,” Rivers said.

The two players have quickly become friends. While they train, Paysinger said, he’ll yell out a defensive scheme that the Giants run and ask Rivers what his responsibilities are. Rivers, in mid bench press or some other strenuous activity, will answer.

As for his number, Paysinger said he’d like to keep 49 if it’s just the same to the NFL. Unfortunately it isn’t. If he makes the team, Paysinger will probably wind up wearing a number in the 50s or 90s. In fact, it may even be the number of a player who has been cut to make room for him on the roster.

New York Sports