DOCKETT'S PARENTS died within a few months of each other when he was 13, and he was raised by his uncle Kevin. While at FSU, Dockett wrote an 11-line ode to Kevin and had it inked on his right arm. It begins "For believing in me/when no one else would/When the odds were against me/beside me you stood." Dockett says the poem "just came into my head so I knew it was sincere." His uncle, he says, still motivates him on the field. "He didn't let me down. My whole career, my thing has been that I can't let him down."
THIS RHINOCEROS on McKinney's left biceps was inspired by a hunting trip to Africa in 2002. "I got within five yards of a rhino charging right past me," McKinney says. "We could feel the ground shaking and hear the trees breaking as it was coming through the woods." At 6'4", 302 pounds, McKinney can make the turf tremble, and he says he learned something from the heedless running style of the horned beast. Says McKinney, "I was so impressed with that animal because it doesn't really pay attention to where it's going."
WHEN BATTLE was nine when his three-year-old brother, Brandon, drowned in their grandmother's pool in Shreveport, La. "As I got older I wanted a tattoo, but I wanted it to mean something," says Battle, 24. "I had a picture of my brother that I kept losing. I thought if I got his portrait on my arm he would always be with me." Battle got the tattoo before his freshman year at Notre Dame in 1998. "The guy did a great job, I've gotten a lot of compliments," he says. And of Brandon he said, "You never get over it. Every day, he crosses my mind."
GENE LOWER/SLINGSHOT (DOCKETT TATTOO)
ROBERT SKEOCH/WIREIMAGE.COM (DOCKETT HEADSHOT)
TWO COLOR PHOTOS
BAPTIST (MCKINNEY, 2)
TWO COLOR PHOTOS
MICHAEL ZAGARIS (BATTLE, 2)