NORMAN — Gone are the days of Kenny Stills' golden Mohawk.
He's a businessman now. At least, he's trying to be one.
Oklahoma's former wide receiver went undrafted during the first day of the 2013 NFL Draft. Now, he'll spend another day or two waiting for a chance to become a professional.
He's spent the last three months, since declaring he would forgo his senior season of eligibility, trying to prove to NFL general managers and head coaches that he cannot only play football but break the stigma many people have attached to him — that he's a punk.
He knows that's what people think when they saw his bleached blonde Mohawk and the ink that covers his arms.
Stills told The Oklahoman back in the fall that his tattoos and hair style weren't an angry kid lashing out, but an expression of the artist inside him.
He doesn't claim to be a complete golden boy, though. Stills said when he was younger he used to do what he wanted to do. He didn't listen much to his mother, and often his father wasn't around. If she said something like, “Don't jump off that table,” he jumped.
That had to change once he arrived at Oklahoma.
“I've been in my share of trouble,” Stills said. “I have a little bit more of an edge to me.”
He grew up being raised mainly by his mom, who didn't respond to requests for an interview, according to Stills' father Ken Stills Sr., who played for the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings and a former NFL Europe assistant coach.
Stills Sr. said although reports have made it sound like he was never in the picture, he took his son on trips to go skiing or see the Grand Canyon. Kenny and his mother visited Europe, and he's met football legends like Walter Payton and Brett Favre.
As he got older, the father made sure he instilled confidence and leadership in his son. He said he gave Kenny a Mercedes to drive to his California high school and then to Norman.
“I wanted him to be a leader, not a follower,” Stills Sr. told The Oklahoman. He wanted Kenny to show his teammates that he was there for them and give them rides. “His mom and dad, we were two totally different people. Kenny was guided by his parents, though, whether he believes that or not.”
And Stills Sr. says his son picked up many of the attributes of both his parents — the business woman mother who works in real estate and the retired NFL player father.
One of those attributes is what his father called his “confidence.”
“There's cocky and there's confidence,” Stills Sr. said. “Many people may think that Kenny is cocky but he's not. He's confident.”
The father doesn't see the blonde Mohawk as the sign of a cocky football player.
“The art and the Mohawk are a good marketing and political tool,” Stills Sr. said.
The Mohawk made him stand out, made him memorable, along with the receptions he was making.
As for the tattoos, they may be covering the entire front of his body, but Stills Sr. said that his son doesn't have a single one on his back.
View Stills as one may, but his art stops in the name of business, and right now his business is the NFL.