Ravens defensive tackle Terrence Cody became national talk radio fodder Friday after he and a pair of teammates were quoted in a Wall Street Journal article entitled “Does this New Uniform Make Me Look Fat?”
In the article, Cody said he didn't care for the new uniforms from Nike, which replaced Reebok as the league’s official uniform supplier this season, because the jerseys tighten up when they get wet and ride up his body. The 350-pound lineman said he thought that Nike should put different material in the jerseys for "the big guys."
Somehow, maybe because of some misleading headlines, ESPN’s “Mike and Mike” radio show got wind of his complaints, and misinterpreted them as Cody being unhappy with the jerseys because they made him look fat. That led Mike Golic, a former NFL defensive lineman, to playfully point out Friday that Cody is indeed fat.
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"Terrence Cody is about 350 [pounds]. Terrence, I don't mean this in a bad way, but you're fat. I mean, am I making up that you have some fat on you when you weight 350? Listen, if you're under 10 percent fat percentage, God love you, but I am pretty sure you are not,” Golic said.
I happened to be watching the Friday morning telecast of the show on ESPN2, and he said that without a hint of malice. He also said that he could relate to Cody, admitting that when he played in the NFL, he at times shook his head while looking in the mirror.
Asked about Golic’s comments later in the day Friday, Cody said he had heard about them but didn’t have a reaction either way. He also reiterated the concerns he voiced in the Journal article about the clingy jerseys.
“It’s true -- we are all big,” said Cody, a second-round draft pick in 2010. “And sometimes we are cautious of how we look when we put on our jerseys, because some of us like to look good and some of us don’t care.”
Fellow defensive tackle Bryan Hall is one of those who care, saying that you feel more comfortable when “you got your swag turned up.” He also poked a little fun at how his friend, Cody, looks in the new jerseys.
“It makes Terrence Cody look like a big Suburban out there,” he said. “We can’t have our nose tackle looking like a Suburban.”
Other linemen, such as rookie center Gino Gradkowski and nose tackle Ma’ake Kemoeatu, said they aren’t concerned with how they look. (Gradkowski actually likes the tighter jerseys because they give opponents less to hold on to.) Veteran center Matt Birk praised the Ravens equipment staff for the work they do to make sure each player’s jersey is tailored to his liking, but also said he is too old to worry about football fashion.
“They could just put a pair of shoes and a jersey in my locker and I would play,” Birk said. “But other guys, they’ve got to feel a certain way, and that’s important. Whatever makes a guy feel good.”
But forget the aesthetics. Players say there are legitimate functional concerns. Multiple players talked about the jerseys tearing easily when they get wet. If the tear is big enough, the player has to leave the field so he can get the tear stitched up by the equipment staff.
“I love Nike, but jerseys aren’t the best material right now,” said defensive end Arthur Jones, who was also quoted in the Journal story. “They are easy to tear. I think every game I’ve had it tear on me and I’m losing playing time while I’m getting stitched up. If they can improve that in any way, it would be great.”