Esks contemplate hair safety

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:00 AM ET

It's an insurance policy that's head-and-shoulders above any other in pro football.

Pittsburgh Steelers Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu had his trademark hair insured for $1 million by anti-dandruff shampoo company Head & Shoulders this week.

Besides raising the bar in hair safety, it's raised some eyebrows in the Edmonton Eskimos locker-room.

"Yeah, that's awesome," said Eskimos linebacker Mark Restelli, whose long locks come straight from the Golden State. "I thought it was funny. I don't really know the terms of it. I mean, what happens if he just cut it, does he get a million dollars? I don't get it."

The Lloyds of London policy was taken out Monday by the Proctor & Gamble Co. brand and will last over the next two years.

"They've created the first-ever insurance policy to protect his iconic mane for the entire NFL season," Proctor & Gamble stated in a release.

Whether Polamalu's hair will benefit from the added financial security or not, the policy has been received in good humour.

"Probably a publicity thing," Restelli said. "I think his commercials are so funny. I was cracking up since the first one I saw. Every single one of them."

Then again, they might be onto something.

"I've seen people get tackled by their hair. I know if you ask Fred (Stamps), he got tackled by his hair several times last year," Restelli said of his teammate, who sports a braided mane that is easily the longest on the team. "I've seen people get their dreads pulled out and saw them on the ground, too. Me, because mine's not dreaded up, I just lose a few pieces of hair. There isn't as much to grab."

Restelli said it's not as bad for defensive players because they're usually the ones doing the tackling.

"Linemen, when they're trying to block us, will grab some hair but that's about it," said Restelli, who began growing his hair three years ago as part of a college bet. "You'd have to pay $20 to the other person if you cut your hair. It went about eight months and he cut his hair, but I thought I was already in the tweener phase, I might as well see how long I can get it. And I just haven't cut it since."

A follicular foot-and-a-half later, Restelli still is nowhere near the curly, black mass of Polamalu, who is of Samoan descent.

Stamps, on the other hand, might have Polamalu beat in length but his sleek and clean braids can't compete when it comes to filling cubic feet.

"I hadn't heard about it, (but) that's a good idea right there," said Stamps. "If I could get an insurance policy on my hair that would be an awesome idea.

"This year, I didn't get it pulled on too much but last year I got pulled on a lot. It sucks, it doesn't grow back. Everything, it sucks."

That could have been because opponents were pulling out all the stops trying to slow down the league's leading receiver, who is currently leading the West Division in receiving yards despite sitting out that past two games with a shoulder injury.

"They grab it, pull my head back and I just go down. It's like being horse-collared," said Stamps. "The refs say it's part of the uniform.

"It's not a good idea, but I love having my hair."

IN AND OUT: LB Rod Davis, DE Kai Ellis and DT Dario Romero returned to practice after resting on Wednesday. DL Justin Cooper sat out Thursday with an undisclosed injury.


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