ON OCT. 14, 2002, then 49ers receiver Terrell Owens whipped a pen out of his sock and signed the ball after scoring a touchdown against the Seahawks on Monday Night Football. The Sharpie Incident spurred a marketing blitz by the pen company and irked the discipline deans at the NFL--inspiring them to create a rule mandating ejection for any player possessing a hard "foreign object." (TO was not fined at the time.) We know where Owens has gone since then--he put his signature on a seven-year, $49 million Eagles contract last March and is noisily leading Philadelphia in receptions--but whither the Sharpie? Immediately after signing the ball, Owens walked over and gave it and the pen as a gift to his financial adviser Greg Eastman, who was in an end zone box as the guest of Seattle's Shawn Springs, the very cornerback TO beat for the TD. "I simply took the Sharpie and slid it into my left sport jacket pocket, and we rolled," says Eastman. Getting out with the ball wasn't so easy. As he left the stadium after the play, a fan tried to knock it away, prompting Eastman to hand it to his rather imposing companion, Falcons receiver Jimmy Farris, for safekeeping. Eastman then had the ball and pen mailed to his home in Phoenix and later mounted them in a glass display case. The items, which according to Arlan Ettinger, the president of Guernsey's auction house, could together be worth as much as $2,000, are sometimes on display in Eastman's downtown office and sometimes in a memorabilia room in his house, where TO visited them last summer. Says Eastman, "He really liked the way we did it with the case."
OTTO GREULE JR./GETTY IMAGES (OWENS)
JASON WISE (BALL AND SHARPIE)