Tattooed Blue heavy into their body ink

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:04 AM ET

You can't go far in the Winnipeg Blue Bombers locker-room without seeing one.

In fact, quarterback Tee Martin, who occupies the first stall, will soon have seven of them.

"You don't have a tat yet?" Martin asks a visitor. "You gotta go get a tat."

We're talking about tattoos, the permanent patches of ink that are immensely popular with pro athletes these days.

If you work in the office known as the Bombers locker-room, chances are you've been inked.

Each tattoo means something different to each athlete. They often honour family, hometowns, mantras by which they live or their passions in life.

Linebacker Ryland Wickman got his one and only tattoo 10 years ago. It features a scorpion (he's a Scorpio) inside a sun (he's from San Diego) with a band of waves wrapping around his biceps (he's a surfer).

"It's kind of got a special meaning, plus no one else has it because I had my mom (Sheila) draw it," Wickman said. "Even after the tattoo guy did it, I wouldn't let him put any pictures in the book or anything like that.

"You don't want to see 10 or 15 other people walking around with the same tattoo, so I tried to get something that no one else would have and something with a little meaning."

Defensive back Stanford Samuels has eight markings, but two of them are "ghetto tattoos" he got on the streets of inner-city Miami.

"I got those when I was 11, so those don't count," he said. "Those weren't done professionally ... and they hurt."

His visible tattoos includes WARTIME (his high school football team's mantra), DEDICATED ("That's just how I am," he said) and PHILIPPIANS 4:13 (his favourite Bible verse).

"They all mark a significant point in my life, where it was something that I felt like I always wanted to carry around with me," he said.

Quarterback Kevin Glenn has two tattoos that represent his love for sports. The one he got in high school represents the two sports he played; it's a football with baseball bats going through it.

The second one is just a football with QB inscribed on it and the word FINEST underneath it.

"I got it my senior year in college," Glenn said. "I don't know why I got it. It was just one of those things. It was just one of those phases where you wanted to get a tattoo, so I got it ... right before I came up to the CFL."

Safety Wes Lysack headed to his brother-in-law's tattoo parlour after his son was born and came out with several large symbols on his left shoulder.

"It's Chinese for 'Junior,' and his name is Wes Jr.," Lysack said.

Lysack plans to get three more expressions in Chinese -- MY LOVE, MY LIFE and MY SON -- that will go across his back and onto his right shoulder.

"That's project B," he said.


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