On the practice field, Brian Orakpo inevitably has this … thing on his head. It’s not exactly a skullcap, not exactly a bandanna or a do-rag. In fact, it looks almost exactly like the cut off sleeve of a shirt, but I’ve never had the occasion to ask him about it.
Fortunately for me, on our trip out to the fashion shoot the other day, I had the perfect opportunity to flip the conversation from seventeen-thousand dollar Bulgari watches and Gucci flip-flops to slightly irregular football gear, and I took it to ask him about what I was sure couldn’t actually be a cut-off sleeve.
“That’s my own little fashion I started back in college,” he said. “What I’ll do is I cut off the sleeve of one of those compression shirts, and wear it as a rag on the top of my head throughout practice and games.”
Okay, I guess it is a sleeve. Do I know fashion or what?
“I know in the league,” he continued, “I think you get fined for it. But I might have to deal with that, cause it’s just my little tradition.”
I’ve noticed that some people take these traditions very seriously — rookie cornerback Kevin Barnes said something similar about switching to half-sleeves for practice. Is this something you guys really buy into?
“Sort of, man. It’s funny, ’cause when you play this game for so long, you buy into what you’re accustomed to doing. Like Barnes’s thing. And I wear the head sleeve because I don’t like wearing the complete skull on my head. I gotta have the open top flaring through the helmet. Also, I like the little armbands I wear at gametime.”
I suppose we’ll get to see those in just eighty-something more days.
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