That’s how many hats Carolina Panthers wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. figures he’ll have in his suitcase when the team travels to Santa Clara, Calif., to face the Denver Broncos Feb. 7.
Well, maybe nine in his suitcase and one on his head as he boards the team jet on Sunday. (And we’re talking fashion hats, sculpted with brims, not the knitted caps players have been wearing on the sidelines during recent frosty games.)
The Panthers are no different from other NFL teams, many of whose players take their sartorial decisions seriously, especially while on the road. Team rules require players to wear suits while traveling to games.
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Quarterback Cam Newton is perhaps the biggest clotheshorse in the Panthers locker room, with his own Belk clothing line and Drakkar fragrance. He dresses to please himself, he tells interviewers, and garners headlines for his signature foxtails, studded loafers and bold use of color and print (floral pants and camouflage tuxedo jackets, to name two).
But many of the Panthers have become known for their fashion sense.
“I’m very excited for the plane ride,” an enthusiastic Ginn said Wednesday in a post-practice locker room interview.
“There’s a saying: ‘You look good, you play good,’” Ginn said. “I feel like if I walk in feeling like Donald Trump I’ll go out there and play like Michael Jordan.”
His suitcase must-haves: “I’ve got to have a couple bottles of cologne,” he said. Favorites? Tom Ford, Yves St. Laurent (“I have them all,” he says) and Gucci. (Drakkar Essence, locker neighbor Newton’s signature fragrance, didn’t make Ginn’s list.)
A few lockers down, wide receiver Philly Brown knows what he’ll be packing for downtime in Santa Clara: True Religion fitted jogger pants, designer T-shirts (Billionaire Boys Club and True Religion are go-tos), and a nice pair of sneakers. (“I’m not a big shoe guy,” he says.)
But perhaps his most important off-field outfit – his travel suit – was still a bit of a question mark on Wednesday. Mom was sending him a suit from back home in Philadelphia, made to his custom measurements. “She knows everything,” Brown said with a smile.
Custom suits are a requirement when you have a pro-football player’s body with measurements you’ll never find in mainstream stores.
Cornerback Charles Tillman and a handful of other Panthers say they get theirs from California-based ALBA Legacy, a custom suit company that specializes in dressing professional athletes.
Aside from his ALBA suits, however, Tillman says he’s keeping it casual in Santa Clara.
“T-shirts and jeans,” he says. “I’m going to go to Target and buy some superhero T-shirts for like 10 bucks. I’m a big Ironman fan, Star Wars guy, so I’ll probably wear some of those T-shirts.”
Wide receiver Devin Funchess planned to leave practice Wednesday and go shopping with Brown, although the pair hadn’t decided to which stores they were headed. In his closet already were the custom suits he plans to bring, made by Ray Hines of his home state of Michigan. “I’m not too into fashion,” he says, “I just like to look nice.”
On Wednesday, every player had a black leather letterman jacket hanging in his locker, a gift from the league for making it to the Super Bowl.
Cornerback Teddy Williams tousled the sleeve of his jacket when asked what he’s most excited to bring to Santa Clara.
”I can’t wait,” he said, “to try this out.”