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Leigh Torrence Does the "Today" Show

The happy couple. (MSNBC photo)

Redskins cornerback Leigh Torrence didn't watch every segment of the Today Show's Race to the Altar. He didn't follow the five finalist couples as they endured "a series of fun, competitive challenges for the chance to tie the knot on America's No. 1 morning show." He didn't see the couples design gowns, didn't see their treasure hunt or their bake sale battles. He, in fact, does not regularly watch the "Today" show.

But Torrence did vote, up to 20 times, recording his weekly support for LaDonna and Darnell after practice on Wednesdays. "You just text in your vote, just like on American Idol," he explained to another "Today" show novice. And when the happy couple won the Race two weeks ago, he pretty quickly got the call from Darnell, telling him he needed to be in New York this week for the wedding.

Yes, that's right, Torrence's childhood friend, whom he's known since the age of 5, will be married on national television in Rockefeller Plaza tomorrow morning, and Torrence will be a groomsman. Yesterday was the official suit-fitting, conducted among fashion industry execs at GQ; "they've got a real modern, stylish look that they're going for, I guess," he said. "I don't even know half that stuff."

This afternoon brought a 4 pm rehearsal in the Plaza, to be followed by a rehearsal dinner in Manhattan. Much of this will be taped by television cameras. (There was also, it should be said, a bachelor party this week; "they didn't tape the bachelor party," Torrence pointed out.) And then tomorrow is the affair, with an evening reception at the Rainbow Room, about 175 invited guests and, you know, several million people watching on television.

"I'm not the best man or anything; I'm just like the third groomsman," said Torrence, in discussing why he isn't expecting butterflies. "I think I'll be all right. I don't have to say anything, I don't have to really do anything. But it will be different. On Sundays, you don't really think about it, because [football] is what you do, but something like this, you might be a little nervous."

Darnell has some sort of romantic bent, proposing to his bride-to-be on her birthday among the Egyptian pyramids. He later told Leigh that they had entered this "Today" show contest thing, the ninth time the program has offered a free wedding to any couple willing to get married at a time of day when all childless people should rightly be asleep.

"I didn't know anything about it," Torrence said, "but come to find out it's a pretty huge deal."

This was already a busy time for Torrence; this weekend he hosts his annual football camp in Atlanta, followed by a quick trip back to D.C. for the National Education Association's Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly. (The former Capitol Hill intern has recently been interning for the teachers union, forever changing George Will's opinion of the Redskins secondary.) But before all that, there's this wedding thing.

"I'm just asking questions, cracking jokes, teasing him a little bit, counting down the days of his freedom," Torrence said just before today's rehearsal. "I'm pumped. This is gonna be real cool, and I'm trying to make the most out of it. They're worried about the planning and everything; I think I'm having more fun than anybody. "

By Dan Steinberg  |  June 24, 2008; 5:13 PM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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