If you show me yours, I will show you mine

Tania Ganguli

Arms, legs, backs, shoulders, chests and hips — the perfect places for tattoos.

Defensive end Loren Howard chose his massive arms for his massive tattoos. He inked his brothers’ names around his family crest on his left shoulder spring break of his freshman year. Why?

“Happened to have the money at the time and the people to do it,” Howard said.

This summer Howard decided he needed another one that stretches from his shoulder down to cover his left bicep. Why?

“Happened to have the money at the time and the people to do it.”

It’s a Celtic cross.

“I like Celtic stuff. It’s pretty cool,” Howard said. “That says ‘strength’ and it says ‘power’ on the back. It’s in Runic, which is this old Germanic language. The Vikings carved it on stone.”

Kind of like how the tattoo artist chiseled it on Howard’s bicep. But Runic isn’t nearly as popular as Chinese for tattoos.

Fellow D-lineman Colby Clark also has “strength” and “power,” but his are in Chinese — power on his hip and strength on his chest. He’s got a Wildcat paw on his back and barbed wire on his left arm.

“Once you get one, they’re addicting,” said Clark, whose addiction started his sophomore year of high school.

Receiver Brandon Horn got three his freshman year. On his left arm is the letter “B” with horns coming out the top of it, like his nickname, B-Horn. Safety Herschel Henderson played with his name, too, getting an “H” that morphs into 24, his number.

Horn has one on his left forearm of his favorite Bible verse. In the center of it is a design that says “life” one way and “death” upside down. He has praying hands around a cross on the other arm.

“I always wanted some, but I wanted to get something that means something,” Horn said.

So did his fellow receivers Ashton Aikens and Jonathan Fields. Fields has a picture of his late father on his arm that is so intricately designed it looks more like a painting than a tattoo. Aikens has his name across his chest and a “D” for Detroit on his right arm.

He got the “D” this summer along with a scroll on his left arm. The scroll says “Test of Faith” above it and has four dates on it: his birthday, the day his mother died, the day his grandfather died and the day he tore his anterior cruciate ligament last season. The scroll is a reminder of past struggles he has overcome.

Like Howard, running back Noah Herron has tattoos of his siblings’ names. His biggest tattoo is his last name on his left shoulder blade with family members’ names under it. The bottom reads: “A family that prays together stays together.”

On his right shoulder blade is a cross that he and four of his best friends from home each have. It has their initials on the edges.

As Herron showed off his back, linebacker John Pickens walked by and said, “Show all of them,” and pulled Herron’s sweatpant partially down to reveal his right hip.

Herron saved his own name for that spot. It’s the Biblical meaning of Noah, rest, written in Chinese with an orange sun around it.

“I’m getting another one at the end of the season,” Herron said. “It’s a secret.”

Reach Tania Ganguli at [email protected]