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Thanksgiving Memories

Nov. 29, 2004
Nov. 29, 2004

Table of Contents
Nov. 29, 2004

SCORECARD
Sports Illustrated Bonus Section: Golf Plus
PRO FOOTBALL
LETTERS
COLLEGE BASKETBALL
SI Players: Life On and Off the Field
SI Players
Pro Basketball
COLLEGE FOOTBALL
MOTOR SPORTS
Tennis
  • In a spectacular flameout after he retired from tennis, Roscoe Tanner deceived his friends and family and ended up penniless and in jail. Now he hopes to heal the wounds he's inflicted and repay all his debts--but it won't be easy

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Thanksgiving Memories

Remember the perfect holidays of years gone by? Neither do we. But we do recall the turkeys.

"MY UNCLE had one of the flyest trucks in town," says Vikings running back Onterrio Smith (left) who grew up in Sacramento. "On Thanksgiving when I was about seven his girlfriend was going to the store, and all the kids were trying to jump in the truck. I was all dressed up and I slipped. My arm got caught under the wheel, and his girlfriend took off and ran over my arm. I go in the house--I just got injured. But my uncle still whipped me with a hanger because we were trying to jump in the back of his truck, and we could have messed it up." ... Green Bay safety Darren Sharper (right) recalls when the Grinch struck one holiday early. "I was in Little League football, eight or nine years old, and somebody stole all the footballs before our Thanksgiving game. Some crackhead probably. We had to play with a frozen turkey. You couldn't throw it. All you could do was run the ball. It was option all day long." ... Sharper's teammate, receiver Robert Ferguson, says, "When I was a freshman in high school my grandma burned all the food. Her name is Big Momma. That's her real name. If you call her Louise, she might cuss you out. We all went to the park, and when we got back she was sleeping. The turkey was burned, the dressing was burned. The corn, the yams. All we could eat was potato salad and sweet potato pie. I wasn't laughing then. I was hungry." ... In Baltimore veteran players traditionally pass out fliers to newcomers for a bogus turkey promotion. The dupes then drive 20 miles from the training complex in Owings Mills to Westminster, Md., and find ... nothing. "They got me good," says receiver Randy Hymes. "I wanted a fried turkey. Me and [safety] Chad Williams drove all the way out there, and there was no turkey. " ... Washington cornerback Shawn Springs (right) used to visit his grandmother in Virginia on Thanksgiving. "We would play the Turkey Bowl. There were no rules. The year I was 17, I was playing quarterback, and my cousin, who was about 30, hit me so hard he almost killed me. I was like, I never want to be a quarterback again. I played defense the rest of the day." ... Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield remembers his days in Buffalo when "we told the rookies we were doing a charity event. The rookies got turkeys and delivered them to this house. We had hired a stripper, so a naked lady answered the door. When the rookies tried to hit on her, we videotaped it." ... While with the Bengals in 2000, Bills linebacker Takeo Spikes (below right) invited 12 teammates for Thanksgiving, then repulsed them by serving barbecued raccoon. Said Spikes: "Tastes like brisket." ... Finally, Packers center Grey Ruegamer recalls the Thanksgiving spirit of 1994 when his Arizona State Sun Devils played at Arizona. "My freshman year. I'm not playing, but I've got a jersey on. The fans are talking a lot of crap, and all of a sudden I hear, 'Hey, number 51, you suck. You don't even play.' I turn around, and this old lady is shaking a Power Bar at me. I start jabbering back. I turn back around and get hit in the head with a Power Bar. I turn around again, and she's waving a finger at me. This lady probably was 65. I picked up the Power Bar, took a bite out of it and threw it. Boom! I hit the dude next to her. The whole section got pissed off, and I had to move down to the other end of the bench."

This is an article from the Nov. 29, 2004 issue Original Layout

COLOR PHOTOTOM UHLMAN/AP (SPIKES)COLOR PHOTOJOE MCDONALD/CORBIS (RACCOON)COLOR PHOTOCORBIS SYGMA (BIG MOMMA)COLOR PHOTOJOHN BIEVER (SHARPER)COLOR PHOTOBRITT ERLANSON/GETTY IMAGES (TURKEY)COLOR PHOTOBETTMANN/CORBIS (VAN DOREN)COLOR PHOTODAVID E. KLUTHO (SMITH)COLOR PHOTOBOB LEVERONE/TSN/ICON SMI (SPRINGS)COLOR PHOTOSIECLE PREIS/CORBIS (HAT)COLOR PHOTODONNA MCWILLIAM/AP (GOMEZ)