A red rose is taped on O.J. Simpson's locker and clipped to the rose is a letter, and on the back of the letter is a picture of a girl in a high school cheerleader's costume. The rose was the idea of a few of O.J.'s teammates on the San Francisco 49ers. He studies the package for a moment, and then carefully removes it from his locker and carries it to the desk of Jeri Dixon, the receptionist and official custodian of the O.J. Simpson letter file.
"An I-Love-You," she says, popping the rose into a glass of water. "He gets about 10 letters a day, and about half of them are Thanksgiving invitations, and one or two are I-Love-Yous."
"What do you do with them?"
"We have a packet we send out," she says. "Team picture, 49er sticker and schedule."
"That's great. A girl writes, 'I love you,' and she gets a schedule."
"No, no," Jeri says, "the I-Love-Yous get special attention. An autographed picture of O.J."
"Who autographs it?"
"He does. Every one."
Outside in the parking lot of the 49ers' practice field in Redwood City, a cheer goes up as O.J. emerges to greet 30 Pacifica Stingrays, the Peninsula Pop Warner League champions, who have come to the 49er camp to meet him. He checks his watch. He is due at the airport in 30 minutes.
"You want to play pro football, right?" O.J. says.