At Eastern Motors
The Redskins have had their calmest offseason in years. Personnel turnover is so 2006.
That is, except at Easterns Automotive Group, where the roster of celebrity athlete mouthing the lyrics to the world's catchiest (if most puzzling) jingle is markedly different this summer. That roster was unveiled during a taping today at the chain's soon-to-open Hyattsville location. Clinton Portis was a surprise no-show. Past team members like Kevin Jones, Lavar Arrington and Carlos Rogers will have to find some other car chain to serenade. Brendan Haywood wasn't there either; his uncertain status with the Wizards made him an untenable pitchman, and anyhow, this was an all-football all-star team.
This year's dream team was dubbed "The Touchdown Makers" by Easterns Chairman Robert Bassam; it includes Antwaan Randle El (whose uniform read "The Transformer"), Santana Moss ("Moss Factor"), Willis McGahee ("Trouble") and Jason Campbell ("The Maestro"). The fifth spot was filled by Redskins icon Chief Zee, who showed up in full headdress and regalia. The shoot also included a bunch of technical folks, a few media members and two Easterns models whose combined clothing would not have covered a Chihuahua.
"We're the background hot chicks," explained Katie Honaker, one of the models.
As with any new roster, there were occasional hiccups. While Santana Moss called himself "One-Take Willie" for almost instantly finishing his skit (a proposed footrace against a yellow 2007 Lamborghini LP 640 Roadster), Randle El and his acting partner, civilian Jackie Inman, needed 12 takes for their salesman-customer dialogue.
"That's part of acting," Randle El said, in his defense. "Denzel don't even do it in one take."
Meanwhile, the strait-laced Campbell hadn't worn black sneakers, so he was outfitted with a back-up pair from Wal-Mart, thrilling his teammates, who then gathered to watch him stiffly recite his lines. "A little less robotic," requested a cameraman, as Randle El briefly stopped heckling and attempted to offer acting advice to his quarterback.
The words to the jingle were on cue cards, but that was an issue, too. Moss wasn't super familiar with them--"I don't know the words, I was just going along with the flow," he said--and McGahee said he only learned them when he got to the shoot. But they jumped right in anyhow, and were even humming the tune after the shoot was over.
"That thing's gonna be in the clubs in a week," Moss predicted, although he later said he was joking. "If I heard that at the club I would pass out," he told me. "I would be laughing so hard, man, I wouldn't know what to do."
And the religious Randle El was ambivalent about the whole jingle; "I just don't like all the boogie woogie," he said, although the models maintained that he was the best dancer among the football players.
In any case, the quintet of All-Stars finally gathered together on the set, and the thumping beat played over and over again, and for a few magic moments everything clicked and you understood that this yellow-clad team of Easterns All-Stars would be a fantastic success. The football players encouraged the gyrating Chief with shouts of "Go Zee,' Go Zee;" "I didn't get all loose like I would normally do," the Chief lamented, but he was tremendous nonetheless. Then the scantily clad models joined in, although Kat, the brunette, was pretty demure.
"I'm really shy so I didn't want to be dancing and singing," she told me. "I'd rather just stand there and look hot."
And the players performed perfectly, grooving together, tossing footballs, weaving in and out, taking solo turns in front of the camera. All the while, the sound system kept reminding us how our jobs were our credit and all of that.
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