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Animal feces and other matter found on mouthguards

The lasting image from the Seattle Seahawks' Thursday night loss will be wide receiver Sidney Rice power-slamming his mouthguard into the turf. That'll happen when the offense is held to six points.

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The worrisome part came when Rice picked it back up. (worrisome, or just plain nasty.) The Indianapolis Star's Phil Richards reported that studies have found blood, sputum, mouth discharges, chemicals, animal feces and other players' DNA on gloves, jerseys and pretty much all of the outer equipment. So each time a player takes out his mouthpiece with his hands, it's like licking his fingers and gloves. Or someone elses.

"Sometimes you drop it, pop it back in your mouth and think, 'Man, that wasn't right, you know?' " Indianapolis Colts linebacker Pat Angerer said. "Nothing you can do about it. That's football."

Richard T. Glass, professor of forensic sciences, pathology and dental medicine at Oklahoma State University, said the "microbial load" could be reduced by soaking the mouthguard in an antimicrobial solution after uses and changing the equipment every two weeks. How many guys will do that?

Just something to think about as you watch players take the guard in and out of their mouths on every play.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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