Willie Colon stared into the camera, leaning his massive frame against the front of his vehicle.
Then, without warning, the Jets offensive lineman came out of character and reached into his pocket.
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"Got to get the shades,'' he said, flashing a smile.
The dark-framed glasses instantly completed the look: Tough. Rugged. Mean.
And the same could be said for the tricked-out truck behind him.
Just like its owner, the 2008 Dodge Ram pickup is anything but understated. And it serves as an homage to Colon's favorite baseball team: his hometown Yankees.
Its width is the standard 79 inches, he said, but the vehicle is far from ordinary. At 9 1/2 feet tall (thanks to three-foot suspension lifts), Colon's custom ride dwarfs the other automobiles in the players' parking lot at SUNY Cortland. Its 40-inch tires are accentuated by 26-inch rims that feature a bucking bull and the words "Bronx Bully'' in the center -- a fitting message for the Bronx-born Hofstra product, who's best known for his big mouth and physical play.
Those same two words are emblazoned across the front bumper, underneath an interlocking "N.Y.'' logo on a redesigned black grill. And along the base of the driver's-side door is a black electronic stepladder that automatically retracts once Colon hops inside.
The truck's imposing frame is rivaled only by the impressive detail that envelopes it.
Colon couldn't remember the exact shade of blue that serves as its base color, but he picked the paint specifically because it "plays off'' of the Yankees' uniforms. A custom gray vinyl wrap -- featuring the Yankees logo in a Gucci-inspired diamond arrangement -- covers the rest of the body and portions of the dashboard.
It's a showstopper for sure.
"The biggest problem I have is that if I ride it in the street, people try to jump in front of it to take pictures,'' Colon said. "I'll be at a stoplight and I'll look down at my phone or whatever, and then I'll always have to peek over the hood because some people will do a quick selfie in front of the truck.
"I've almost nicked a couple people.''
Colon grew up in the Melrose Houses on East 156th Street, just a mile away from his beloved Yankee Stadium. Those Bronx roots gave birth to an undying love of pinstripes.
But when Colon, 31, was drafted by the Steelers in 2006, he couldn't help but feel disconnected from his neighborhood. "The reason I got the truck is because I was homesick my rookie year,'' said the former fourth-round pick.
"I was a New York kid in Pittsburgh, didn't know nothing, and I saw all these country boys riding these big ol' trucks and I wanted to fit in. So I was like, 'Man, I'm going to get a pickup truck.' I got it, but I wasn't really sold on it. So I was like, 'Man, I've got to trick it out.' ''
Inspired by MTV's "Pimp My Ride'' -- a television show that featured custom body shops customizing, or "pimping out,'' cars in poor condition -- Colon set out to bring some Bronx flavor to his neck of the woods.
"A bunch of the guys on the team had donks and all these colorful cars,'' he said, explaining that "Donk'' is what the Florida boys call those box Chevys with the big wheels.
"So I wanted to make my own version.''
Originally, his pickup was a different shade of blue and not as high. But he recently decided it was time for a "total makeover.''
And now the revamped truck perfectly mirrors Colon's strong yet playful personality.
"It's a little arrogant,'' he said, running his fingers along his scruffy beard. "Yeah, it's a little obnoxious on the road, but I appreciate it. I like it. I know all of the New Yorkers love it.''
But there's one thing that would make his tricked-out truck even cooler, he said: Derek Jeter's signature.
"That would be sick,'' Colon said, beaming. "He's my favorite player.''
It costs anywhere from $95 to $100 to fill up the gas tank, but Colon (who also owns a Cadillac Escalade) is fond of driving everywhere in his pickup -- even to Yankee Stadium.
He laughed when asked if his truck can fit through EZ-Pass toll lanes. "Yeah, it can,'' he said, seemingly amused.
But there's one place he said he can't take his beloved truck.
Said Colon: "I can't put it through the car wash. I know that.''