Colts fan gives some skin, ?scores? signatures
By Lindsay Winslow Brown
AUBURN ? He?s got 21 down and 33 left to go, but he may have to take off a few more items of clothing if he wants any more.
Matt Ellis of Auburn, who started collecting ?auto tats? of the 2007 Super Bowl Champion Indianapolis Colts players last summer, is on a mission to get all 54 members of the winning team to pen their names on his skin. After players sign their names, he has them permanently tattooed on his body.
Ellis has stood in line for numerous autograph sessions and even flagged a few players down to see if they?ll sign.
?I?ve stood in line many, many, many hours. I?m usually one of the first 15 to arrive,? said Ellis, whose lower legs and shoulders now are covered with names of players including T.J. Rushing, Reggie Wayne, Dominic Rhodes, Marlin Jackson, Adam Vinatieri, Raheem Brock, Jeff Saturday, Ryan Lilja, Jim Sorgi, Robert Mathis, Antoine Bethea, Matt Giordano, Gary Brackett and Kelvin Hayden.
So far, Ellis said, he has a total of 21 signatures ? 20 players and coach Tony Dungy. Of the team?s other 33 players, 13 are on the current roster and 20 have moved on.
Earlier this month, Ellis traveled to Terre Haute for the Colts? training camp, where he waited several hours to make contact with the players. After waiting for hours on end, Ellis said, he ?scored? several autographs.
?I?m the only one that had my leg flopped over the rail waiting for them to approach,? Ellis said. ?I?m flinging myself out there.?
After one practice, he said, he waited for the players to get taken to their rooms in golf carts. He saw Dominic Rhodes who flagged him over. Ellis said he dropped all his stuff and ran to him.
?I told him, ?Since you stopped for me, I?m going to give you some shoulder,?? Ellis explained.
He had to wait several days to get those autographs permanently inked on his body as tattoos, he said. First, he couldn?t bathe one leg, and then he got the other signed and couldn?t bathe it either. Then, he got his shoulder signed, and taking a shower was out of the question.
He said he doesn?t want ?auto tats? from rookies or players who weren?t on the winning team.
?I?ve had tons of rookies in front of me that I didn?t bother asking,? Ellis said. ?I tell them, ?If you get that ring, I?ll give you some skin.??
Ellis said he doesn?t want them to feel excluded, so he lets rookies sign footballs.
He explained that all but one player has been receptive of his endeavor, because he thinks Ellis might regret his decision later on.
?Freddy Keiaho has given me his word that he would sign when they win the Super Bowl this year or when I get all the other champion signatures, whichever comes first,? Ellis said.
Ellis said he also is getting to know some of the players, six of whom now are on his myspace.com account.
Ellis thinks he?s got room for 10 to 15 more signatures on his legs, and has room for about five on his arms. He doesn?t know where he?ll squeeze the rest, but he said he won?t stop until he gets all team members.
Asked what his wife, Ann, thinks of his quest, he said she?s pretty supportive. She got her first tattoo earlier this month ? a Colts horseshoe about the size of a palm on her foot. Ellis doesn?t have her name tattooed anywhere on him, though.
?I put a girl?s name on me once,? Ellis said. ?It got covered up. I?m not going to jinx anything.?
Once he gets all the players, he plans to get the Super Bowl emblem tattooed on his chest. Later this year, he plans to get a Colt wearing the team?s jersey tattooed on his back in front of a blue-colored brick wall.
Later this year, he plans to get a Colt wearing the team?s jersey tattooed on his back in front of a blue-colored brick wall. Although Ellis will be chasing down other Colts players with a marker in his hand, if he doesn?t watch it, he may start bleeding blue.