THE MOSTnerve-racking game of the season for Seahawks receiver Nate Burleson? Seattle'sDec. 14 showdown with the 49ers. It wasn't the prospect of facing a divisionrival that rattled him but rather how he would look when he took his weeklypregame runway-style strut in front of his teammates in the locker room. The6-foot, 192-pound Burleson, 25, has a custom-tailored suit in the colors ofeach Seahawks opponent that he wears to each game, and as he surveyed hisbrand-new red-and-gold, velvet 49ers number--with a butterfly collaredshirt--he thought to himself, It's kind of loud.
As it turned out,results that day were mixed. The Seahawks, playing sloppily, lost the game, butBurleson, in his teammates eyes, looked spiffy. "The suit was nice,"says D.J. Hackett, another wide receiver and Seattle's self-appointed fashionarbiter. "It wasn't as flashy as you'd think, for red velvet. It had tasteto it."
The idea for theteam-colored suits came last summer from Peter Roberti, a tailor at AdrianJules Custom Tailors in Rochester, N.Y., where Burleson began getting clotheslast year on the recommendation of former Vikings teammates Sam Cowart andKeith Newman. "At first I thought, That's kind of extreme," saidBurleson of the suit-of-the-week plan. "But my wife [Atoya] said she likedthe idea."
And so Burlesonshowed up in a single-breasted four-button royal-blue suit for the Seahawks'opener at Detroit. He sported a purple, sleeveless five-button suit for theOct. 22 game against Minnesota. For this Saturday's playoff opener against theCowboys, a matchup that was not set until Sunday, Roberti, who has about 75clients in the four major team sports, had only three days to design and tailora suit in Dallas's blue and silver--not that the rushing ever shows. "He'sdefinitely got it going on," Seahawks corner Jimmy Williams says ofBurleson. "Very debonair. I'm impressed."
That kind ofresponse is why Burleson plans to continue the practice next season. "Everyweekend I get a compliment," he says. "I think I'm up there with thebest-dressed guys in the league." He's also the only Seahawk who's alreadydreading next season's visit to Cleveland. Says the man who prefers vivid huesto muddy earth tones, "I'm scared to play the Browns."
ON THE VIKINGS
"When you putthat on, you feel like you've got all the swagger in the world," saysBurleson. "It's got the matching top coat and the matching hat. It's a bitmuch, but once you actually complete it and put it on--which takes me about 30minutes--it looks good."
"That's thepizzazzy, snazzy one. I told [Roberti] when he was making my suits, I like toattract a little attention, but I don't want to be that guy that everybodylooks at who's trying to do too much."
"When youtravel to Chicago, the majority of the time it's going to be cold. So I got afour-piece suit. It works well, and it fits well. This is a smooth outfit, andit's one of my favorites." Adds receiver D.J. Hackett, recalling Burleson'sOct. 1 look: "Chicago was nice."
(Burleson wearsthis one to formal team functions and other events): "It's not thetraditional Seattle Seahawks colors, but it reminds me of Seattle because it'sgot the aqua blue like all the water around here."
ON THE NECKLACEHE'S HOLDING UP
"That's theSeattle skyline. It's the first big purchase I made for myself. I loveSeattle." It has black, yellow and white diamonds. "About 30, 40karats. I just bought it. [He wouldn't say what he paid.] I didn't spendanything when I was [with Minnesota]."