washingtonpost.com  > Sports > Leagues and Sports > NFL > Index > Preview

Tools of The Trade

Wednesday, September 8, 2004; Page H04

Then

Eye Black: Jerry Rice swears by the stuff. It was designed to prevent the sun's glare from interfering with a player's ability to see the ball in the air, but it doesn't hurt that it adds a renegade appearance. Perfect for the Raiders.

Stickum: Fred Biletnikoff was famous for his soft hands covered with the gooey substance. What exactly was it made of anyway? Stickum eventually was outlawed, but not before Biletnikoff was well on his way to the Hall of Fame.


Now

Sharpie: Terrell Owens took the end zone celebration to new heights (or lows, depending on whom you ask) when after catching a touchdown pass against the Seahawks in October 2002, he took a Sharpie pen out of his sock, signed the ball and gave it to his financial adviser, who was sitting in the stands.

Pom-poms: Later in the same season, Owens borrowed the accessories from a 49ers cheerleader and did a little dance after scoring on a 45-yard pass against the Packers.

Gloves: Owens can draw negative attention even with this simplest of implements. He likes to color his gloves all black, and that means painting over the NFL shield. Of course, that's a league no-no.

Cell Phones: In a mid-December game last season, Joe Horn used a cell phone to make a call after scoring the second of his four touchdowns. The phone was hidden in the goal post padding, and teammate Michael Lewis retrieved it before giving it to Horn.

Homemade Signs: A repeated target of the NFL for excessive end zone celebrations, Chad Johnson followed a touchdown in a December game last season by holding up a sign -- it was hidden behind a snow pile -- that read: "Dear NFL: Please don't fine me again." The league didn't listen and issued a $10,000 penalty.

-- Gene Wang


© 2004 The Washington Post Company