The Washington Times - September 18, 2008, 10:41AM

One last follow-up to the numbers story in yesterday’s dead-tree edition.

I’ll start it with a little background on tight end Lansford Watson, who has worn No. 80 since he was 13 years old.

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But when he landed at Maryland, Joey Haynos had that number. So instead of his preferred digit, he got 41.

Within a couple days of the start of his first camp, he had a broken leg and was forced to undergo surgery.

“41, that’s probably why I got hurt,” Watson said with a laugh.

But in a lot of ways, numbers aren’t a laughing matter – as evidenced by these comments from Maryland’s offense:

* WR LaQuan Williams (No. 3): “That was my high school number. …  I said I was going to take over from [Christian Varner] when he was done. I was told for the last decade a Baltimore guy had No. 3. I have to keep it going.”

Indeed, Rob Abiamiri (2001-04) and Varner (2005-07) also wore No. 3. The last non-Baltimorean to don the digit was the immortal Omar Cheeseboro.

* TB Morgan Green (No. 5): “I love No. 5. I always wanted a single digit since I got here, and Isaiah  Gardner left. I saw it open and I just took it.”

* WR Adrian Cannon (No. 7): “I asked Friedgen my junior or senior year if I could wear No. 7. He basically said wait it out. J.P. Humber, he was a senior my freshman year. I talked to Friedgen, I talked to Ronnie O and I worked hard and my grades were good. They basically said after J.P. is gone, you can have it. … I think everybody has their own preference. For me, this is my number and I love it to this day.”

* WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (No. 8): “The No. 8 is like a new identity, a new me. After my first year here, things probably weren’t going the way I wanted it to go, so wearing the No. 8 was something new for me. I actually decided to take the number because my best friend, he couldn’t wear the No. 8 at his college. He plays at Northeastern, Tony Lott. He was No. 8 at my high school. He was wearing No. 18 his first two years at Northeastern. I told him I’d wear No. 8 for him, but now he wears No. 8 also.”

* QB Chris Turner (No. 10): “Nope. They just gave it to me. I wanted to be 4 coming in, but Josh Wilson was No. 4. I couldn’t go ‘Hey, Josh….’ I like 10. I don’t mind it. I’m not picky. I’m not superstitious really about numbers. Some guys are.”

* QB Josh Portis (No. 12): “It’s me. It’s all me. It’s an exciting number, You’ve got a lot of good players wear No. 12. … [I wore] 4 at Florida. [As for] 12, it’s a different team, a different era. That’s why I picked 12.”

* WR Danny Oquendo (No. 17): “I think it’s just a number. I don’t go too deep into the numbers thing. I’ve had it since I’ve been here and that’s about it.”

* C Edwin Williams (No. 60): “I think the single digit is what you really want to get. I’d love to be a single digit one day. I’d love to be 4. Four’s a good number. … I think the single digit makes you a better player. You’re like ‘Wow, man, that person has a lot of mass. That person’s a beast.’ And if you have the visor or the dreadlocks, that kind of ups the energy. That’s just the philosophy behind it.”

* LT Bruce Campbell (No. 74): “It’s just a number I came here with. They just gave it to me. I wanted 58 because it was my high school jersey and it’s just a jersey I always wanted. The 74 was like ‘What is this? It makes me feel like a lineman.’ I was like ‘Know what, forget it. I’ll just deal with it.’ Now, I like it because I wind up seeing a lot of tackles with it. I’m like, ‘Good, that’s good.’”

* RT Dane Randolph (No. 75): “I chose 75 because I admire Jonathan Ogden. I actually had a pair of his practice shoes in high school. My coach, Doug DuVall said I needed a pair of turf shoes and I said ‘I’m not going to buy turf shoes, I’m just going to wear a pair of regular shoes.’ He said ‘You need turf shoes.’ He was able to get a few old pairs of shoes from Ravens players and I got a pair of Jonathan Ogden’s shoes. That was really perfect . I’ve admired him since then. He’s one of the best offensive tackles. I think a lot of tackles admire him, because when I watch the film, a lot of tackles have the same number.”

* LG Jaimie Thomas (No. 76): “It was the first number I picked when I started playing football in 10th grade. I know my best friend from high school has the same number. We always go back and forth [on] ‘Who’s the real 76.’”

* TE Lansford Watson (No. 80): “No. 80 means a lot to me. A whole lot to me. When I started playing receiver, I was 13 years old. I ended up playing for the Brooklyn Skyhawks. That’s a historic number … . I was 13 playing with the 17- and 18-year-olds. I started at receiver and the coach gave me No. 80 and he said ‘This number is going to go with you for the rest of your life.’ From there, I’ve always worn 80. In high school, I tried to change it up, but I always went back to 80 in big games. In the All-America game, I had 80. I came here, I tried to get 80.”

* WR Isaiah Williams (No. 84): “When I got here, Derek Miller had the number. He was a fifth-year senior at the time, so I knew I was going to get it. I wore 87 for a while. I wore 84 in high school, so it’s something I wanted.”

Heyward-Bey passed along Williams wanted 84 so he could have the same number as Randy Moss. Meanwhile, Oquendo added: “Isaiah, he loves 84. Way too much.”

Patrick Stevens