"Right," he says. "Feel this. It's a secret pocket inside: they always have a secret pocket for potions. Here's another one; it's got a tassel on the star." He reaches down again and pulls out a powder blue helmet with No. 34 on the side. "Earl Campbell's helmet. We traded after a Pro Bowl." Now a jester's hat, orange and green with bells on top. He puts it on and shakes his head. The bells tinkle. Next comes a Renaissance nobleman's hat with a two-foot ostrich plume. "They judged you by the size of your plume," he says. And now a rubber Fasching hat from Munich, with spikes.
"He still has all his old jocks, all his old football shoes. Theo never throws out anything," Jane Hendricks says. She calls him Theo. It suits him. Theo now models, in turn, a navy blue North Sea fisherman's hat, a Hialeah High hat, a visor from Kamehameha School, Oahu, another from the Southwest Boys' Club in Miami. "You ain't seen nothin' yet," he says, pulling out a hat in the shape of a turkey with a long aqua crop. In the bottom of the crate is a jai alai cesta.
"My cesta," he says. "The great player Orbea gave it to me in Miami. I used to play at his fronton. The first time I tried to hit the ball off the back wall I swung at it like I was swinging a baseball bat and the ball hit me in the middle of the forehead. Felt like an earthquake going off in my head."
When the iron-pumping revolution first hit the Raiders, Hendricks had his own barbell made for bench-pressing: two empty drums fastened to either end of a bar, giving the impression of great mass while being virtually weightless. "To make you feel good," he says, hoisting it with one hand. He called it The Hurricane Machine. And in place of the bench, he devised a "hammock" made from strands of barbed wire, "to toughen you up."
Once, at a special-teams meeting, Madden was calling off the positions on the punting unit, and each player answered with his name. Hendricks was late. He was entering the building just as Madden called out, "Left end." Hendricks picked up a phone in the equipment room. "Emergency call for Coach Madden," he said. Madden got on the phone in his office. "Hendricks!" was what he heard.
"How can you stand it?" Madden asked Jane Hendricks one day.
"I'm into bird-watching," she said.
When Defensive End Lyle Alzado joined the Raiders in '82, he described the characters on the team as being "camped out on the edge of reality." Hendricks took exception to the quote. "I told him, 'Lyle, we're not camped out. We're over it. But we can flip-flop. Flop, we're out, flip, we're back in. When you learn that, you'll be one of us.' I think last year he learned."
"I've never played with a guy like him," Alzado says. "He smiles while he's playing; he actually smiles out there."
"It's not a smile," Hendricks says. "It's a grimace, a malevolent grimace."