I have copper strands in my beard. I don't know why; I just do. My hair is black (or dark brown), and nowhere on my person is there any suggestion for the redness in my facial hair.
I'm rather proud of it, actually. It's different. It's a conversation topic. And while I get admittedly angry when I have to tell people that, No, I don't dye my beard, it's pretty funny that they have to ask in the first place.
As a matter of fact, I have to have my beard. Without it I look like I'm 18 - and I know the ladies like it.
In 2005, the hirsute Snake threw for 3,366 yards and 18 touchdowns against only seven interceptions in leading the Denver Broncos to a 13-3 record, a second seed in the AFC and a trip to the conference title game.
But that's where things get, well, hairy.
In 2006, sans bushy crumb catcher, Jake has amassed some rather pedestrian numbers. He's completed only 55 percent of his passes, and thrown 12 picks against 11 scores. With left tackle Matt Lepsis out for the year with a torn ACL and tackle George Foster benched for playing more like Jodie Foster, the running game has come to a grinding halt. Teams are stacking the box and daring Plummer to beat them. He can't.
I tracked down Plummer's Beard at the Holiday Inn Cocktail Lounge on St. Marks in Manhattan. I bought him another round of a shot of Wild Turkey and a Budweiser bottle. Myself, a Jameson on the rocks.
Phony Gwynn: How'd you get all the way out here?
Plummer's Beard: An old buddy of mine, some sideburns, moved out here years ago. I needed to get away. (Takes the shot, holds the shot glass up, stares at it for a second.) Sonuvabitch shaved me like Boston College did points.
PG: Did he say why he did it?
PB: Nah. Just woke up one day and - BZZZT - I'm gone. No reason. Like one of his passes into triple coverage. (Gets up, puts a few quarters into the jukebox, punches a few numbers, and sits back down.)
PG: But you guys had such a good year last year. When did it go wrong?
PB: I'll tell you when (takes a long sip of the beer). Second quarter, AFC championship game. We're down two TDs, and he throws a bad - I mean, Michael Richards at a NAACP conference bad - pass that's picked off by Ike Taylor. When he came to the sideline, he threw his helmet down and then started scratching at me. Like, really hard, you know? Like he was trying to kill some lice in there or something. That's when I knew.
PG: Wow. But did you ev-
PB: Oh man, this is my song. ("Sharp Dressed Man" by ZZ Top begins playing.) I love this shit. (Takes another long swig of his Bud.) Did you know that the drummer's name was Frank Beard and he was the only one in the band that DIDN'T have a beard? (Laughs loudly.) Oh, man. Good shit, man. Good fucking shit. (Takes another long drink, this time killing the bottle.)
PG: Yeah, I didn't know that. That's pretty funny. Here, let me get another round.
PB: Naw, I got it. (Comes back with same drinks as before, but with shots of Patron.)
PG: Damn. Thanks.
PB: Hey, no prob. (He holds up his shot.) Here's to the glory and success of the Jay Cutler era in Denver. And to Jake the Mistake, soon to be washing cars with the rest of the also-rans in Bronco history. (We take the shots - he bangs the shot glass hard on the table three times.)
PG: So do you think this is a Samson and Delilah situation? Are you convinced that Plummer's having problems now solely because he cut you loose?
PB: Is there any other explanation? He got rid of me in mid-April and then guess what? He cuts some guy off and then, when the guy honks at him, he gets out and kicks his headlight. While on the way to deliver a check to charity no less! And on 4-20 - maybe he should've participated in that day's festivities and calmed the fuck down, you know what I'm sayin'?
PG: I do. So what are your future plans?
PB: Ah, I don't...I don't know. I'm gonna hang out here. See the sights. Maybe go to work for a high school kid in Maryland. He's got potential. But mostly I'm killing time until the World Moustache and Beard championships. I'm going to try to find a little sexy action.
PG: That's coo - uh, wait. What? Aren't all the mustaches dudes?
PB: Hey, man, it's either some good, full-on lovin' or those nasty things that Mexican women over the age of 30 grow. And trust me, man, you don't want that. I wouldn't even wish that shit on Jake - now THAT'S saying something.