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Arizona's Ohalete files complaint against Washington's Portis over jersey

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) _ Arizona Cardinals safety Ifeanyi Ohalete filed a complaint Wednesday against Washington's Clinton Portis, claiming the Redskins' running back failed to pay a promised $40,000 for a jersey number.

The breach of contract complaint was filed in Maryland District Court in Upper Marlboro by Ohalete's attorney, John Steren.

``This is a last resort to get back what he's owed,'' Steren told The Associated Press.

When Portis was traded to the Redskins in March, he was unhappy that he could not wear 26, the number he had in his two seasons with the Denver Broncos. The number already belonged to Ohalete, who had been with the Redskins for three seasons.

Portis wore No. 3 and then No. 6 at the first two minicamps while negotiating with Ohalete. The players reached an agreement and signed a contract just before the start of the third minicamp on June 4, with Portis agreeing to pay $40,000 for the number, according to Steren.

Steren said Ohalete has tried to collect from Portis, but to no avail.

He's asked Mr. Portis to make due on his obligation,'' Steren said.The contact is fairly clear.''

Ohalete switched to No. 30 after making the deal, but was cut by the Redskins during training camp in August. The Cardinals claimed him off waivers, and he has become their starting free safety.

This is about honesty and principle,'' Ohalete said in the statement released through his agent, Premier Sports Management.There is no gray area on this. We made a deal and drew up a contract.

``I held up my end of our deal and gave him my number. All I am asking is that he does what he agreed to do, and hold up his end of the deal as well. I don't think that is asking too much.''

No court date has been set for the complaint. Steren said Portis could resolve the matter by paying the money.

Portis did not return a message left through a Redskins spokesman.

It is common in sports for athletes to negotiate for jersey numbers. Portis' attempts to get the number from Ohalete came shortly after the running back signed a $50.5 million contract with $17 million in bonuses.

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