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Original Issue

The Heidi Game Mix NFL stars and uber-model Heidi Klum, and you've got action nobody will cut away from

What do you get when you put assorted Pro Bowl players, skimpy
togas and a topless swimsuit model in a sacred pool? Trouble,
that's what! Not a lot of trouble, not Court TV trouble, although
who knows how things might have gone if Tony Gonzalez had gotten
those mai tais he kept hollering for. Still, any time a tribal
spiritual leader has to appear on the Hawaiian sand for a
throw-down, you kind of know things have gotten out of hand.

It started innocently enough. The plan was to gather some of the
NFL's elite, have them pose in the surf with Heidi Klum and kick
up their heels a little, then shoot some pictures. Amazingly, it
was no trick whatsoever to gather a whole Heidi Herd of them. A
few players demurred on account of six-packs gone to pot in the
weeks since the season ended (thus no quarterbacks, no offensive
linemen). A few others balked when presented with a strange
swimsuit wrap that was supposed to evoke a Grecian theme (in
Hawaii?). One or two wondered what their wives might think--"My
wife's a good ol' Indiana gal," protested Ravens' free safety Rod
Woodson, who modeled anyway.

But just about everybody came around to the idea in no time. It
might be something about the whole Pro Bowl atmosphere
that--notwithstanding the $15,000 premium for each member of the
winning team--is more idyllic island getaway than All-Star death
match. "You notice," said Tampa Bay Bucs safety John Lynch, who
was making his third trip, "that players don't blow off the Pro
Bowl." Opponents consort giddily on the beach at Ko Olina; the
idea of competition dissolves in the tropical torpor.

In these circumstances players become unguarded, accessible and
even cheerful, willing to slip on a minitoga and slide into the
drink with Heidi. "Anything you can do on a beach," explains San
Francisco 49ers wide receiver Terrell Owens, "is fun. Now, add a
supermodel...." That was the thinking, almost to a man. So, as we
said, it was no big deal to raid a practice session, bring two or
three players at a time back to Paradise Cove, stand them up
alongside Heidi and make 'em smile real good.

Well, Tampa Bay running back Warrick Dunn did put on a little
show of stardom: glowering when he had to wait for his shoot,
talking on his cell phone and refusing to autograph Heidi's ball
beforehand. Then, when he was plopped on the beach for his shoot,
he petulantly scrawled his name in the sand, not especially
mindful of its--or his--impermanence.

He wasn't the trouble, though. See, there was this idea for one
of the pictures, in which Heidi was...(mothers, cancel your
subscriptions right now)...topless and stood discreetly behind
Owens and Miami Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor. It was
artfully done and will probably sell a lot of the swimsuit she
wasn't wearing. But you just aren't supposed to do that in a
sacred pool. Oddly, 305-pound Lions defensive tackle Luther
Elliss could have been topless there (well, no he couldn't; see
the six-pack requirement above), but not Heidi. The spiritual
guardian who happened to show up for the shoot objected, said
maybe if she could have given the cove a proper blessing, the
gods might have smiled on the scene, although probably not as
leeringly as Taylor and Owens did at that moment.

So Heidi changed into her next suit, and that was that, as far as
trouble went. If the gods didn't smile on the scene, they must
have at least signed off on it, because there was no apparent
rebuke. A soft breeze continued to blow through Heidi's hair, and
warm water lapped at everybody's ankles. Neither gods nor Warrick
can stay mad on a Hawaiian beach. Warrick, whom Heidi had
laughing at himself in no time, signed that ball after all.

COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS BY WALTER IOOSS JR. EDDIE GEORGE Running back Tennessee Titans Heidi's swimsuit by Omo Norma Kamali ($175)

COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS BY WALTER IOOSS JR. LEFT TO RIGHT: JASON TAYLOR Defensive end Miami Dolphins TERRELL OWENS Wide receiver San Francisco 49ers Heidi's swimsuit by Randolph Duke Swim Couture ($750)

COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS BY WALTER IOOSS JR. left to right: WARRICK DUNN Running back Tampa Bay Buccaneers TONY GONZALEZ Tight end Kansas City Chiefs Heidi's swimsuit by Keiko ($168)

COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS BY WALTER IOOSS JR. John Lynch Strong safety Tampa Bay Buccaneers Heidi's swimsuit by Keiko ($325)

COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS BY WALTER IOOSS JR. left to right: ERIC MOULDS Wide receiver Buffalo Bills ROD WOODSON Safety Baltimore Ravens Heidi's swimsuit by Tommy Hilfiger ($124)