OTTAWA — Bear Woods was still in elementary academy aback his best friend’s mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Hoping to advice in some way, Woods asked his parents for permission to abound his albino red beard continued to accord it to charity.
More than two decades and several donations later, the adept linebacker with the Toronto Argonauts wears his continued dreadlocks like a covering of armour, a basic antecedent of backbone on the football acreage and in life.
“Hairstyle is allotment of who you are,” Woods said. “And in football, we’re still arena a game, we’re developed men arena a kids game. So there’s a swag to it about your personality, and your confidence, and I anticipate that’s what any hairstyle shows. Especially dreads.”
The 30-year-old Woods is one of at atomic a bisected a dozen associates of the Argonauts’ defence that will be apparent in Sunday’s Grey Cup for the long, coiled beard that hangs center bottomward their numbers — earning them the appellation “Dreaded D.”
“It aloof concluded up actuality a thing,” said arresting aback Rico Murray, cutting Malcolm X glasses with his dreads accumulated on top of his arch in a behemothic bun. “We looked about and maybe all but two or three of us on the starting calendar had dreads. That was affectionate of cool.”
The trend against continued beard has affected football admiral to lay bottomward rules. Essentially continued beard is fair bold because it’s accounted allotment of the player’s equipment, appropriately the ball-carrier can be pulled bottomward by a tug on his hair.
And aloof like a amateur afterwards the brawl can’t be captivated by the jersey, they can’t be captivated by the hair. But it happens, said Williams.
“I absolutely cut my beard this year, it was abundant best than this,” Woods said, captivation up one of his circuitous strands. “It was accepting pulled so abundant this year I cut about four inches off.”
The CFL basically adopted the NFL’s beard rule, which was accounting in 2003 and is affectionately accepted as the “Ricky Rule” afterwards Ricky Williams. The longtime NFLer, who played the 2006 division with Toronto, has beat dreads aback his academy canicule with the Texas Longhorns.
Perhaps the best acclaimed football beard adventure happened in 2013, aback Jacksonville’s Jason Babin tackled Arizona active aback Andre Ellington, yanking out a scattering of his beard in the process. There was no banderole on the play.
Argos cornerback Akwasi Owusu-Ansah hasn’t cut his beard aback 2011, in his amateur division with the Dallas Cowboys. His inspiration?
“Honestly the afflatus for best American players was Ricky Williams,” Owusu-Ansah said. “He was the aboriginal candied amateur who had locks, and it aloof looked so candied advancing out of the helmet, and actually I’ll acquaint you, that was the afflatus for like 95 per cent of players, aloof the way it looked.
“And again already I started growing them, I started acquirements added about them, now I’m absolutely absorbed to my locks.”
Linebacker Marcus Brawl drew afflatus from accomplished biblical characters such as Samson and Roman gods like Hercules.
“Absolutely, it’s a antecedent of strength,” Brawl said. “It represents my journey, and what I’ve been through in altered stages, and situations and adventures in my life.”
Woods, whose dad is a pastor, told reporters during his academy canicule at Troy that acceptance played a allotment in his continued hair, and batten of Samson.
Dreads are fabricated by carefully aberrant strands calm to accomplish continued coils. Murray, who hasn’t cut his beard aback April 25, 2007, said what’s appropriate about the Argos’ “Dreaded D” is that every arch of continued beard is unique. Woods’ dreads are unruly, while arresting aback Johnny Sears Jr. wore his in tidy strands Thursday, busy with gold beads.
“One affair I abstruse about locks is that nobody’s locks are similar, everybody’s locks abound abnormally and they all represent that alone in a altered way,” Murray said. “I feel like abundance represent me in a array of way.”
And while they absorb bandy names of “lockticians” — hairstylists who specialize in dreadlock affliction — the Argos players don’t allotment haircare tips.
“Nah,” Sears laughed. “We let you apperceive if they don’t aroma too good, but that’s about it.”
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