Have you noticed cornerback Frank Minnifield, the speedy little bump-and-run man in the Browns' defense, which is No. 2 against the pass, tugging on his socks between plays? "What a pain," says Minnifield, who's 5'9", 180 pounds and has 17-inch calves—the biggest on the team. "My calves just overdeveloped from all the running and jumping I've done," Minnifield says. "I've never been able to pull any kind of socks up. Forget boots."
Minnifield got a leg up on the competition by making his own socks when he was playing with the Arizona Wranglers of the USFL. "Every week I'd cut the sleeves out of Wrangler sweaters," he says. "I'd put red tape at the top and bottom. Nobody knew the difference.
"The NFL has a crazy rule that you have to wear your socks up," he goes on. "Well, I've tried to pull my Browns' socks up, but my circulation gets cut off. By the end of the first quarter, I'm cramped up."
So the Browns have had special socks made for him. Which has led to another problem. "But I wear a size 10 shoe, so the feet of the socks are really big," Minnifield says. "I can barely stuff them in my shoes."
John Riggins, the 35-year-old Redskins fullback who has always seemed indestructible, is showing signs of mortality. "I can't go on another year like this," says Riggins, who checked into the hospital last Friday—his second visit of the season. He was placed in traction and given heat treatments for his aching back.
Riggins said he also has shooting pains from his hips to his knees. He usually practices only one day a week—Thursday—and doesn't know until he warms up on Sunday if he will play. Before the Redskins' 31-17 romp over the Vikings last Thursday, Riggins couldn't even bend over. He didn't play that night, and now has played in just one of the Skins' last four games.
"I've had every test imaginable—CAT scan, bone scan—and everything comes up negative," he says. "The discouraging thing is that I've been resting, and it doesn't do any good."
[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]