SOCKS TOO HIGH? JERSEY UNTUCKED? PANTS CUT ABOVE KNEE? PAY $5,000; FASHION POLICE NFL Enforces Dress Code, to Players' Chagrin

Article excerpt

Byline: TENESHIA L. WRIGHT, The Times-Union

Looking official in dressy, navy blue digs last Sunday, Johnny Rembert walked his beat inside Alltel Stadium.

When players saw the 6-foot-4 Rembert approaching, they stopped, looked, listened and complied. Those that didn't paid a price.

Rembert is a fashion police officer. The National Football League employs one for each team's home games. Their task is to issue warnings to players and team representatives before sending a final report to the league for levying fines. The league has assigned Rembert, a former New England Patriots linebacker, to the Jaguars since the team's inaugural 1995 season.

"Our job is not to let the guys get fined, but to warn them," Rembert said.

If the warnings aren't heeded, the league issues a minimum $5,000 fine. The fine is doubled for repeat offenses.

NFL spokesman Dan Masonson said the league penalizes players to encourage them to project a professional and uniform look.

The league does not keep track of uniform fines. Fines are grouped together and donated to NFL charities, consisting of the Brian Piccolo Cancer Fund, the Vincent T. Lombardi Cancer Research Center and the NFLPA Players Assistance Trust.

"Our uniform policy is implemented for player safety and to ensure that the game and it's players are represented in a professional manner," Masonson said.

A couple of hours before the Jaguars' 1 p.m. kickoff against the Houston Texans last week, Rembert circulated around the field with a notebook checking for violations, such as untucked jerseys, low white socks, written messages, and unlicensed logos. Although both coaching staffs had the proper Motorola headsets and walkie talkies, Rembert noticed the Jaguars' two bench heaters bore unlicensed logos, and he told a team representative.

"Perfect," Rembert remarked when he returned a half hour later to see tape covering the heaters' brand name.

Rembert also noticed seven Texans and nine Jaguars with uniform violations, mainly for low socks and untucked jerseys. During the game, he spotted additional violations, including Houston linebacker Billy Granville's torn undershirt sleeve, through binoculars from his seat in the press box.

Through the course of the game, Rembert made in-person visits and phone calls to tell each team's uniform designee to correct the violations. Granville's sleeve was corrected when he jogged onto the field after halftime and most of the other violations were rectified. However, Rembert said he faxed a report for a few violations to the league the following day.

"They get a lot of chances," Rembert said. "Sometimes you might get a guy that says, 'I don't care.' "

Texans cornerback Aaron Glenn is among those -- he is infamous among players for weekly fines. Last Sunday, he was warned twice -- before and during the game -- for an untucked jersey, cut sleeves and high pants. Glenn's jersey routinely is tailored to be trimmed at the sleeves without a cuff, said Matt Grupp, Houston's assistant equipment manager.

"Well, Aaron is a player who's set in his ways and certainly a great player, a Pro Bowl player," said Merton Hanks, who oversees the league's uniform and inspection program. "At the end of the day, each player is his own representative and if he chooses to display himself in such a manner, we certainly will take steps to revisit that and hope that Mr. Glenn complies with the rules."

Glenn tucked his jersey when Rembert warned another player, but Glenn pulled it back out while lining up for the national anthem moments later.

"That's why he got beat. He should tuck his clothes," Rembert said from his press box seat after Jaguars receiver Jimmy Smith's 32-yard touchdown catch over Glenn in the opening quarter.

Rembert admitted that he ignored officials when they warned him about his high pants during his 10-year career with the Patriots, but he said he never was fined for his uniform because rules were more lenient then. …

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