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Three Stooges

Nyuk! Nyuk! Holmgren nicknames his talented receivers

Posted: Thursday December 05, 2002 3:05 PM

KIRKLAND, Wash. (AP) -- Back in the late 1980s, the Denver Broncos' receiving corps was known as the Three Amigos.

This year, the Seattle Seahawks have the Three Stooges.

No, that's not an editorial comment directed at Seattle's 4-8 record. It's the phrase head coach Mike Holmgren used this week to describe his top receivers: Bobby Engram, Darrell Jackson and Koren Robinson.

"I just get mixed up on who is Curly, Moe and who's Larry," Holmgren joked. "What do they think of it? I don't know and I don't care."

The receivers have been as good-natured about the label as they are with each other. They take an easygoing approach to most things, going out for dinner together, listening to music, playing video games or shooting pool.

"We talk football and we talk life. We just hang out a lot," Engram said. "We try to keep it upbeat. They keep me young with the music and video games. They take me out to eat every now and then. Other than that, I'm a boring old family man."

The Three Stooges are inseparable around the team's practice facility. Jackson and Robinson, who are both single, sometimes spend 12 hours each day together.

"Coach just named us that," Engram explained. "I guess when he sees one of us, he sees the other two. He started calling us Larry, Curly and Moe. We still haven't figured out who's who. Maybe we'll know by the end of the season."

Jackson, who turns 24 on Friday, isn't ready to embrace the nickname. Relaxing on the floor of the Seahawks' locker room, where the receivers share a wall, he opened a discussion of the issue.

"I don't really want to be any of them," Jackson said with a laugh. "Who are you, Bobby? Which one?"

"The smart one," Engram answered.

"I don't want to be the one who always gets poked in the eye," Jackson said.

Later, the 22-year-old Robinson assigned the names.

He identified himself as Curly "because he's the funny one." He said the 29-year-old Engram is Moe because he's "the elder one, the serious one." And Jackson is Larry because "he's always getting tricks played on him."

The three watch out for each other. In October, Engram and Robinson stayed with Jackson overnight at a Dallas hospital after he had a postgame seizure at Texas Stadium.

"They're buddies. They're friends," Holmgren said. "They kind of jab each other about who has the most catches, but it's a healthy thing."

Robinson leads the trio with 52 receptions for 856 yards and three touchdowns. Jackson is next, with 43 catches for 583 yards and two TDs while Engram has 37 catches for 472 yards.

While Engram hasn't caught a scoring pass, he has returned a punt for a TD.

Holmgren said Engram, a six-year veteran, has been a mentor to both younger players. Then he jokingly feigned concern about Jackson and Robinson being a bad influence on Engram off the field.

"Every once in a while I think Engram is going haywire," Holmgren said. "I've got to grab him and tell him, 'You're supposed to be the leader of this group.'"

Robinson admits he isn't crazy about the nickname, suggesting alternatives like "Three the Hard Way" and "The Three Musketeers."

They'd better pick something they enjoy, since it might stick.

"You've got a pretty good group right there," Holmgren said. "They are a nice complement to one another. They practice hard and they're fun guys. They are great young guys. When I talk about hope for the future, you can start right there."

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