Lions And Monkeys And NFL Lockers, Oh My!


Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Welcome to the NFL, Ndamukong. Here's your stuffed monkey!

Detroit defensive lineman Turk McBride gave his fellow Lions linesmen a present at training camp last week. And that present was … stuffed monkeys that he hung in their lockers. Bet you didn’t think we were going to say that, did you? Well, that makes two of us.

We’ve seen our share of weird stuff hanging out in NFL lockers of late, including that shaggy-haired blonde kid that Chris Cooley planted in Donovan McNabb’s locker a few weeks ago. But monkeys? How come? At least he didn’t hang red tags, like Roger Dorn did to punk Rick Vaughn in “Major League.”

McBride explained the monkeys, kind of, in the Detroit Free Press Wednesday. "It just was something to almost unify the defensive line like we're all going through the same thing and we all feel the same way, as long as we come together as one and push through it, we can overcome anything," he said. "We have our ups, have our downs, and that monkey just was like we can (fight through it)."

Right. Team solidarity and bonding and unity and all that, we get it. But why monkeys?

McBride says his girlfriend thought of the idea and bought the animals from Toys “R” Us. We weren’t able to obtain photos, but here’s an artist’s rendering of how the stuffed toys look in the lockers. Just kidding. We found that online. But we bet it’s not too far off.

Then the whole scenario takes an even odder turn when defensive end Andre Fluellen added a little something and outfitted his monkey with … a gas mask. Maybe he was just doing his monkey a solid because his locker smelled? No, he added the mask because he had been spending the summer training in a gas mask after hearing about how MMA fighters do a similar thing to enhance their workouts by restricting oxygen flow.

So, to recap. We know there are monkeys hanging in lockers. We know that it was McBride’s girlfriend’s idea to buy them, and that she got them at Toys “R” Us. We know what they might look like, and that some of them have gas masks. But still no clue on why a monkey was the chosen symbol of solidarity. Why not a lion? As in the Detroit Lions. Well, for the answer to that question, one needs to look no further than “The Wizard of Oz.” Just look at this frame and tell us who the more fearsome mammal is, the cowardly lion or the crazy evil monkey? Mystery solved. We guess.