UFL/SPECIAL TO THE SUN
Thursday, July 29, 2010 | 2:05 a.m.
NFL veterans Daunte Culpepper, Ahman Green and Dominic Rhodes can now add modeling to their distinguished résumés.
They were three of 10 United Football League players, two from each of the league's five teams, who unveiled next season's uniforms by walking down the runway Wednesday afternoon at the Fashion Show Mall.
"It comes down to having fun and being a part of something new and great," said Culpepper, quarterback of the Sacramento Mountain Lions. "That's what I think this league is going to do. I'm happy to be a person that can help start this league and get it going right."
During last year's inaugural season, all four of the UFL teams wore similar jerseys and colors. The league is making an effort to differentiate the teams in 2010 by giving them all a unique identity.
The Mountain Lions uniform sported by Culpepper was black, white and gold.
The Las Vegas Locomotives colors have switched from silver and teal to red, white and gray.
"They look great," said Las Vegas tight end Adam Bergen. "They have really improved from last year and look a lot better."
The Florida Tuskers were the only team that stuck pretty closely with last year's look. But the man showing off the Tuskers' blue, white and black jerseys, running back Dominic Rhodes, is a newcomer.
Rhodes, who is best known for winning a Super Bowl with the Indianapolis Colts in 2007, said he watched the UFL last year and knew it would be a good place for him.
"I watched it because I'm a big football connoisseur, but my agent basically called me with this opportunity, and I jumped on it," Rhodes sad. "I missed it last year, and I'm not going to miss football again."
Former Notre Dame fullback Asaph Schwapp showed off the Hartford Colonial's new attire. Schwapp was an appropriate choice because the Colonial's navy and gold closely resembled the Fighting Irish's uniforms.
The Omaha Nighthawks' uniform probably most closely resembles that of the Oakland Raiders — all black and silver.
Green, the Green Bay Packers' all-time leading rusher and Nebraska star, said it was an honor to return to his hometown to play football.
"It's going to be a big deal," Green said. "I played high school there, and we wanted any pro team to come there. We would have to go east to Chicago, south to Kansas City or west to Denver to see anything. Now, we've got it, and football is the perfect sport."
Green was unaware Omaha had a UFL franchise until a couple months ago. He was chatting with a high school buddy who takes care of his downtown Omaha condo when it was mentioned.
Green immediately wanted in.
"I told him to get on the phone with everybody he knows in Omaha and I was going to get on the phone with my football agent and we're going to get me on this team," Green said.
"It was pretty much a no-brainer. It would have been stupid for me not to go with this team and help them out in some way."
Culpepper had a more direct tie to the league. Dennis Green, who was Culpepper's coach for five years with the Minnesota Vikings, coaches the Mountain Lions, who were known as the California Redwoods last season.
The Redwoods had the top rusher in the league last year with running back Cory Ross but never could find consistent play from their quarterback. Green knew Culpepper could fix that and offered him the job because his contract with the Detroit Lions had expired.
"All of these guys here are great players," Culpepper said. "It's good that we're going to be able to showcase our abilities on a national stage still."