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Tale of My Tattoo

Jan. 10, 2005
Jan. 10, 2005

Table of Contents
Jan. 10, 2005

LETTERS
SI Players: Life On and Off the Field
College Football
PRO FOOTBALL
Pro Football
PRO BASKETBALL
Inside Baseball
Inside The NBA
Departments

Tale of My Tattoo

TANK JOHNSON
BEARS DT

This is an article from the Jan. 10, 2005 issue Original Layout

THE ROOKIE'S right calf has a map of Indiana earmarking Gary, where he lived until age 10. "Gary's impoverished, tough, hard-nosed," says Johnson. "The tattoo shows my struggle." Johnson was living with his father, Terry, in Arizona when he got the tattoo at 15. "I had to leave Gary because of all the drugs and the crime in the city. I needed a fresh start. But Gary still bleeds in me. At the NFL combine I rubbed my tattoo. Then I ran the best time of any defensive tackle."

JARRETT PAYTON
TITANS RB

"DAD HAD pictures of himself everywhere," says the 24-year-old son of the late Walter Payton. "You saw this one when you walked into the house. We called it the 'take off your shoes' picture." Jarrett, who's on the practice squad, had the portrait done after Walter died of cancer in '99 "I had one on my back with the sun and a WP in it, but I wanted his face somewhere. On my left shoulder are my mom [Connie]'s initials, and my sister, Brittney, is in there. My family is everywhere on me."

LARRY FOOTE
STEELERS LB

FOOTE IS one of three players with this acronym on his chest: J is for Raiders RB Justin Fargas, D is for Bears WR David Terrell, L is for Larry. The three were teammates at Michigan from '98 to 2000. "Every summer we work out together," says Terrell. "We're best friends, we'll be best men at each other's wedding." The players say they'll add to the tattoo if they ever all make it to the Pro Bowl. In any event Foote vows the tattoo will never get covered up. Like the art says, "It's untouchable. For life."

TWO COLOR PHOTOSWILLIAM R. SMITH (JOHNSON, 2)TWO COLOR PHOTOSDONN JONES (PAYTON, 2)TWO COLOR PHOTOSMIKE FABUS (FOOTE, 2)