JAGUARS RUNNING BACK
Jones-Drew hascreated excitement on the field (five TDs), but off the field he's toned down."You can't have a great game, then party all week at this level," hesays. "I wake up, go to work, go home. I don't go out. You've got to keepyourself contained and disciplined." The 5'7" Drew credits thatdiscipline with helping him drop 15 pounds (he's 210); he avoids McDonald's andTaco Bell, which he favored at UCLA. And he has a new friend at home: Phillip,a bulldog puppy (above). "He's a great companion," Jones-Drew says."All I do is hang out with him."
He started all 52games in four years at Boise State, so his demotion from the starting lineupafter the preseason opener was a shock. "I relied on my wife [Megan],"he says. "She said, 'You're going to be all right. Everybody has a badday.' " Packers O-line coach Joe Philbin told Colledge, "Deal with itand react positively," and Colledge responded. "I decided I wouldn't goin the tank," he says. "I was going to work hard to earn my spotback." Colledge has started every game since Week 2.
November 13, 2006
The rookie leaderwith 73 tackles has used his NFL riches to help "my mom, Martha," hesays. "She worked in a steel plant in Alabama. She has headaches, backspasms, her hands hurt. I don't know how she did it, but we were never inneed." Martha still watches over DeMeco. "She says football'sdangerous," he says. "She'll say, 'I saw you get up limping. You hurtyour leg, but you won't tell me.' I say, 'I'm O.K. Don't worry!'"
The NFL's onlyrookie kicker (above) replaces the man who won two Super Bowls in NewEngland--as fans keep reminding him. "'Where's Vinatieri?' I've heard everyvariation of that," says Gostkowski, who signed a four-year, $2 millioncontract. "I've advised myself not to spend a lot of money," he says,though he's made one splurge. "The truck I drove in college [Memphis], Ihad in high school. A '97 Ford Ranger with 150,000 miles. It could barely makeit up a hill. People had autographed their names on it with keys."Gostkowski now owns a new Ford F-150 truck. "My dream car," hesays.
Sims went a lesscuddly route than Jones-Drew, rewarding himself for being selected ninthoverall with a saltwater aquarium and a multicolored, venomous lionfish (left)."Touch their fins, they sting you," says Sims, who has been stingingenough ballcarriers to rank 10th in the NFL with 65 tackles. "You can lookat the fish. That's all you can do."
Last month theLiberia-born first-rounder was reunited with his mother, Rachel Keita, after 13years, when she came to the U.S. The adjustment hasn't been easy. "I livewith my mother and my brother, and I have a girlfriend," says the PennState grad. "I'm under my mom's rules again. Some things she approves of,some she doesn't." Practices are Hali's sanctuary. "On the footballfield, I'm at peace," he says. "I'm running around, and I don't haveanything else to think about."
RAVENS DEFENSIVE TACKLE
He had nointerceptions at Oregon, but 27 minutes into his first NFL game the 6'4"340-pounder was holding a deflected Chris Simms pass and looking at 69 yards tothe end zone. "It felt like I was running to Hawaii," recalls Ngata."It was so far. It felt good for 30 yards, and then I just died out; itfelt like something big jumped on my back." Ngata ran out-of-bounds afterchugging 60 yards. "Some people said I didn't have a motor," he says."I feel I've answered those questions."
The downside ofsigning a six-year, $27.3 million contract? "People you haven't talked toin a long time come, and they don't ask for $100 or $200. They ask for $20,000or $30,000," says Cleveland's sack leader. "It's like, How much did youcontribute to me getting here? Now you want to ask me for a huge amount ofmoney and think it's not big to me? It's happened more than once. More thanthree times."