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REICH, ESIASON GET A KICK OUT OF BOOTS

Thanks to his good friend Boomer Esiason, Frank Reich may be the only back-up quarterback in the NFL with a national advertising deal.

The Buffalo Bills' back-up and the Cincinnati star appear in a national print advertisement for Dingo boots, which is a product they sell in the chain of boot shops they own.

Reich and Esiason, along with two other partners, own nine Jim and Chuck's Boot Shops across the country, two in the Buffalo area.

The two quarterbacks are friends back to their days at the University of Maryland, where they were roommates for three years. The two also were the best men in each other's weddings.

Reich said the boot store endeavor stemmed from a birthday present.

"His rookie year at Cincinnati, he sent me a pair of boots for my birthday, and I really liked them," said Reich, in his fourth year with the Bills.

"So then my rookie year here, I went out to Cincinnati to visit him, and he introduced me to a friend of his, who he got all his boots from. I told them there wasn't anything like this in Buffalo."

Eventually, the two decided to open a store in Buffalo. The store's name was taken from one in Ohio owned by the friends who helped them get into the business.

"It's kind of crazy," Reich said. "It's not how most businesses start off. Kind of by the seat of our pants is how we started."

Nevertheless, the two quarterbacks now have two stores in Pittsburgh, two in Cleveland, two in Detroit and one in Rochester, in addition to the Buffalo-area stores.

The two were asked by Dingo to do the national ad after working closely with the boot company for several years.

"We've tried to create an image," Reich says. "The image is, 'Where the pros shop.' We don't want people to think boots are just for Western, cowboy types. They're fashionable. So far, it has been real successful."

Reich, Esiason and their wives take two or three vacations a year together during the off-season.

Reich, however, wishes Esiason no luck in Sunday's AFC Championship game.

"I really believe we're going to win this week," Reich said. "But if the Buffalo Bills can't be in the Super Bowl, my next pick would be Cincinnati, because he's such a good friend of mine.

"But if he has to throw six or seven interceptions for us to make it, I hope he throws six or seven interceptions."

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