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Kayvon Thibodeaux Scores His First NFL Win

The Giants' young edge rusher successfully negotiated the acquisition of jersey No. 5 from kicker Graham Gano.

Giants edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux knew it would take more than just a few fives for him to coax kicker Graham Gano into seeing things his way.

But in the end, the outgoing Thibodeaux proved to be a winning negotiator as he convinced Gano, who has worn jersey No. 5 for each of his two seasons with the Giants, to give him the number in exchange for a sizeable, but an undisclosed donation.

"We're talking real numbers," Thibodeaux said a couple of weeks ago after being formally introduced to the Giants media. "When you tell somebody 250, I don't know what 250 means. You forget all the zeros behind it (Laughter). Things are a lot different now.

"But yeah, he's a great guy, and we obviously are going to build a relationship, and I'm going to be able to get into it, and we're going to talk about it."

In the end, Thibodeaux, who wore No. 5 at Oregon, convinced Gano, father of five children, to see things his way, unlike the unsuccessful attempt of former Giants safety Jabrill Peppers, who wore No. 5 at Michigan and sought to acquire his old college number once the NFL expanded its jersey numbering policy.

Although Thibodeaux got the number he wanted, he also is smart enough to know that he needs to start over in the NFL after a successful 20-game career for the Oregon Ducks in which he recorded 126 tackles, 35.5 tackles for loss, 19 sacks, 7 pass breakups and three forced fumbles.

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He's ready to do just that, noting, "Hey, the number don't make the player, the player makes the number."

As for Gano, the kicker seemed amused by the Giants' decision to create two Twitter posts announcing the transaction.

In response to teammate Julian Love's suggestion that Gano treat teammates to dinner at Nobu, a well-known Japanese cuisine eatery in Manhattan, the kicker said he had bigger plans for the money he received for his old jersey number.

As part of the jersey swap, Thibodeaux made a $50,000 donation to Puppies Behind Bars, which provides service dogs for wounded war veterans and first responders and trains  explosive-detection canines for law enforcement.

"I feel like it was where the money that Kayvon was donating would be able to make the largest impact and help the most people throughout him giving that money," Gano said in an interview with the Giants website

"The whole idea behind the number five being special to myself and being special to Kayvon was being able to help five people get the five dogs and be able to make an impact in five people's lives for the better. That was the whole goal behind that. I'm really excited about it."

Gano will wear No. 9 this season, the number his wife Brittany wore during her days as a softball player at Florida State.


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