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In Search of TO's Sharpie

Nov. 01, 2004
Nov. 01, 2004

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Nov. 1, 2004

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Sports Illustrated Bonus Section: Golf Plus
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  • With supreme confidence and accuracy,do-it-all Daunte Culpepper is threatening NFL passing records and putting the Vikings on a fast track to the playoffs

  • DAUNTE CULPEPPER isn't the only NFL quarterback on the brink of a career season. Here are three other passers who, although at very different stages in their development, are having notable starts in 2004.

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In Search of TO's Sharpie

•WHERE IS IT NOW?

ON OCT. 14, 2002, then 49ers receiver Terrell Owens whipped a pen out of his sock and signed the ball after scoring a touchdown against the Seahawks on Monday Night Football. The Sharpie Incident spurred a marketing blitz by the pen company and irked the discipline deans at the NFL--inspiring them to create a rule mandating ejection for any player possessing a hard "foreign object." (TO was not fined at the time.) We know where Owens has gone since then--he put his signature on a seven-year, $49 million Eagles contract last March and is noisily leading Philadelphia in receptions--but whither the Sharpie? Immediately after signing the ball, Owens walked over and gave it and the pen as a gift to his financial adviser Greg Eastman, who was in an end zone box as the guest of Seattle's Shawn Springs, the very cornerback TO beat for the TD. "I simply took the Sharpie and slid it into my left sport jacket pocket, and we rolled," says Eastman. Getting out with the ball wasn't so easy. As he left the stadium after the play, a fan tried to knock it away, prompting Eastman to hand it to his rather imposing companion, Falcons receiver Jimmy Farris, for safekeeping. Eastman then had the ball and pen mailed to his home in Phoenix and later mounted them in a glass display case. The items, which according to Arlan Ettinger, the president of Guernsey's auction house, could together be worth as much as $2,000, are sometimes on display in Eastman's downtown office and sometimes in a memorabilia room in his house, where TO visited them last summer. Says Eastman, "He really liked the way we did it with the case."

This is an article from the Nov. 1, 2004 issue Original Layout

COLOR PHOTOOTTO GREULE JR./GETTY IMAGES (OWENS)COLOR PHOTOJASON WISE (BALL AND SHARPIE)