Skip to main content
Original Issue

Tale of My Tattoo

SHAWNE MERRIMAN
Chargers LB
Merriman was nicknamed Lights Out after knocking out four players while in high school in Maryland. When he delivers a big hit, he pretends to flip the switch on his right forearm. "I always thought of myself as an entertainer," he says. "If you don't love hitting people--you don't love football."

CHRIS JOHNSON
Rams CB
In March 2003 Johnson, an unheralded player at Louisville, ran the 40 for NFL scouts. He clocked in at 4.18, said to be the best time in the U.S., and the Packers took him in the seventh round. "I'm proud of it," says Johnson, who has 22 tackles. "It will stick with me the rest of my life."

TIM JOHNSON
Raiders LB
Now 27, Johnson got this tattoo on his right biceps nine years ago--with his mom. "She was going to get one, and I went with her," says Johnson, who's from Fairfield, Ala. "After the tattoo artist got through with the dog, I said, 'Let's put T-DOG on top of that because I'm a little dog.' It's the only tattoo I ever got."

TWO PHOTOS

TONY GONZALES (TIM JOHNSON TATTOO, TIM JOHNSON HEAD SHOT);

TWO PHOTOS

BILL STOVER (CHRIS JOHNSON TATTOO, CHRIS JOHNSON HEAD SHOT)

TWO PHOTOS

MIKE NOWAK (MERRIMAN TATTOO, MERRIMAN HEAD SHOT)