Falcons' Sean Weatherspoon commits $5K to rookie for old jersey number

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Newly re-signed Atlanta Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon kidded about taking rookie Jermaine Grace to Applebee's in order to reacquire his old No. 56 jersey.

Actually, Weatherspoon offered much more than just a plate of baby back ribs.

Weatherspoon told ESPN he agreed to pay the undrafted linebacker from Miami $5,000 for the number, which is the same one Weatherspoon wore when he was first drafted in the first round by the Falcons in 2010.

Grace, now wearing No. 54, initially said he sought $8,000 but then settled on $5,000.

"We shook on $5K, but he's trying to extort me, man," Weatherspoon said with a laugh.

This is Weatherspoon's third stint with the team. His second time back, he had to retrieve his number from defensive end Brooks Reed, who wears No. 50 these days.

"Man, I didn't pay Brooks Reed nothing," Weatherspoon said. "I can handle $5,000. But $8,000? We would have to talk about that. We've got to meet somewhere. I'd even throw in jerseys for your family.

"But, I already got the number, so Applebee's could be the end result. But $5,000 is what we shook on. We'll figure it out."

Weatherspoon, who made headlines in the past after finding a lost game check from playing in Arizona, recalled the most he ever saw a teammate give up to get a number back.

"Thirty (thousand)," Weatherspoon said. "Paul Soliai. He gave that to Jonathan Massaquoi (for No. 96). Crazy.

"I'm going to have to pay Grace in increments if he keeps taking me up, shoot. He makes more than me."

Grace seemed content with $5,000.

"I can work with that," he said.

For the record, Grace is due to make $470,000 this season if he remains on the 53-man roster, and he received a $5,000 signing bonus. Weatherspoon had a base salary of $1 million with the Falcons last season and earned another $125,000 in roster bonuses based on playing four games prior to a season-ending Achilles tear. His latest contract numbers are not yet available, but the veteran minimum for a player with six years experience is $775,000.