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Avenger Delivers Off Field Too

After helping with birth of calves on his family's farm, Hopkins finds a place on fashion pages.

March 18, 2005|Chris Foster | Times Staff Writer

Last week, Avenger receiver Greg Hopkins was down on the farm. This week, he's in vogue.

Hopkins just returned from his family's farm south of Pittsburgh, where he delivered nine calves during the Avengers' off week, a prelude to his life after football.

What his time in the sport has provided was on display in the New York Times magazine this week.

Hopkins was among the models used to display new fashions, the fallout from which provided more than a few chuckles around the Avengers' practice facility.

"No comment," Coach Ed Hodgkiss said, smiling. "It does remind me when Greg and I were with the [Indiana] Firebirds and he modeled for a poster. We sold them to fans at the gate for $1 to raise money for charity. A few of those posters found their way to the locker room, doctored up, of course."

In between the jocularity and cattle tending, Hopkins has managed to catch a few passes, some thrown by his quarterback and a few by the opposition.

His 8,975 career receiving yards rank him fifth in the Arena Football League. He has also returned a league-record 10 career interceptions for touchdowns.

But there is more to the 10-year veteran from Slippery Rock University than football.

The New York Times photo opportunity was hardly new ground for Hopkins, who has modeled and done runway fashion shows in the past. But this, he said, was his first in about five years.

"It lasted four hours and they took a lot of pictures, then they used one," Hopkins said.

The one photo showed Hopkins, flexing, in a T-shirt ($165) and jeans ($185) with a belt ($150).

"Wow, guys used to only get paid $600 per game in this league," Hodgkiss said.

Hopkins got to keep the T-shirt.

"It costs more to dry-clean this shirt than I have ever spent on a T-shirt," Hopkins said.

The caption next to the photo read, "Big Guns."

"No comment," Avenger quarterback John Kaleo said. "Really."

Although the modeling was fun, the work on the farm was more part of Hopkins' long-term plans.

His family owns a farm in Nineveh, population 88, in the southwest corner of Pennsylvania. The family also has the Hopkins Family Store, the only business in Nineveh.

Hopkins' passion for farm work had him rushing home last week, where he delivered the calves.

"I enjoy baling hay, working the fields," Hopkins said. "It is more than just a hobby. This is what I'll do when my football career is over."


AVENGERS TONIGHT vs. Dallas, 7:30

Site -- Staples Center.

Radio -- 690.

Records -- Avengers 4-2, Desperados 5-2.

Record vs. Desperados (2004) -- 1-0.

Update -- Avenger Coach Ed Hodgkiss spent the bye week fiddling with the offense, which has scored the fewest touchdowns in the Arena Football League. "What I did was cut down on plays instead of changing personnel," Hodgkiss said. "We'll run a smaller [offensive] package. We'll just get better at that. I think we've been trying to find the 'magic play' all season. There are no magic plays." Kicker Remy Hamilton continues to stand out, with 17 field goals. No other kicker in the league has more than eight. Dallas' Clint Stoerner's 119.0 quarterback rating ranks him fourth in the AFL. Jason Shelley has 632 receiving yards, the fifth-most in the AFL.

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