Westbrook to Metcalf: You Lose

Eric Metcalf bounced through the locker room doors wearing an odd jersey: Michael Westbrook's uniform from his days at the University of Colorado. But Metcalf lost a bet and it was time to pay up.

It's one of the little things that takes place almost every weekend during the season. Players make bets with one another based on who their college teams are playing. One year, the offensive linemen took turns wearing a University of Michigan cap courtesy of right tackle Jon Jansen.

And players routinely talk smack before their college faces a teammates', which was the case last weekend, too, when Kenard Lang's Miami squad faced Bruce Smith's Virginia Tech team.

Then there was quarterback Tony Banks, who didn't have any bets with Jansen before the Michigan State-Michigan game. But he still had something to say: during a timeout the next day, Banks stared at Jansen, who then said, ''Don't go there.'' Banks didn't have to. His smile said it all.

Bragging rights are important. Which is why Metcalf and Westbrook made the bet before the Big 12 Championship between Texas (Metcalf) and Colorado (Westbrook). The Buffaloes won, 39-37.

''Eric said it's the ugliest jersey he's ever seen,'' Westbrook said. ''I told him my jersey looked better than his and we got into an argument on the field.''

Westbrook then chided Metcalf in the locker room, amid a throng of reporters.

How did Metcalf look? ''Little. Like he is.''

Then Westbrook joked that the bet was supposed to be for Metcalf wearing the jersey for an entire week. Metcalf balked at that.

''His bottom lip was [quivering],'' Westbrook said. ''It's the worst thing I've ever seen in a grown man. He was crying about the bet, so I said, 'OK, you just have to wear it for a day.' ''

Metcalf, of course, said, ''That's the ugliest jersey. That team was no good, they just caught us in a bad day and they still only won by two. It looked like Michael wasa about to wear smallest Eric Metcalf jersey ever.''

Metcalf wasn't Westbrook's only victim. Strength and conditioning coach Dave Redding played at Nebraska in the early 1970s. He, too, donned a Colorado jersey on Wednesday.

Did this make Westbrook the big man on campus?

''I always am,'' he said. ''What's wrong with you.''

John Keim covers the Redskins for The Journal Newspapers and is a correspondent for Pro Football Weekly.

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