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A reward for being unique

By GREG AUMAN

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 25, 2001


Amani Toomer can thank his mother for an unusual name.

Amani means "peace" in Swahili, and it also makes it easy for him to bring new meaning to the term "domain name." His teammates can't use jason.com or kerry.com or even tiki.com, but amani.com is all his, and Toomer already has someone he trusts working on the site.

His mother.

Roberta Toomer flies into Tampa from Berkeley, Calif., along with Toomer's father, Donald, sister, Dana, and brother, Donald Jr. This week, she's 100 percent proud mother, but next week she'll be hard at work on upgrading her son's official site.

"We haven't done a whole lot with it yet," she said Tuesday from her home, where she runs a small Web consulting firm named Pagesters. "When I get back from the Super Bowl, I'll get to work on this full time."

For now, the site is a single page, with two pictures of Toomer and links to his bio pages at NFL.com and other sites. Fans can sign up to be notified by e-mail when the site expands, and his mother is working on acquiring rights to amanitoomer.com.

"For some reason, people want to type both names in," she said, adding that his middle name, Askari, translates as "warrior." Roberta is relatively new to the Web, but she has been working with computers since 1966 with companies such as Goodyear Aerospace and Lockheed.

"When we first moved to California, she was working for Lockheed and was designing missiles," her son said Wednesday. "She didn't really like that, morally. It was against what she wanted to do, so she got into the programming world. She's worked with a lot of companies in Silicon Valley and she's made a living of it."

Roberta said she is starting slowly with the Web, building small sites for friends such as a neighbor who has a knitting store. She built her company's home page (pagesters.com) and workoutpartnersfitness.com, a company that sells personal training videos online.

This week, the only site she's interested in is Raymond James Stadium, where she'll watch a Super Bowl in person for the first time. Her son said having family and friends in town for this weekend only makes this experience a little bit more special.

"It's going to be good to have them celebrating with me if we can win," Toomer said. "Either way, it's going to be a good time."

CHATWATCH: Sports Illustrated senior writer Peter King chats at 2 p.m. today at CNNSI.com, which also has Bears rookie linebacker Brian Urlacher at 5. ... ESPN.com has NFL analysts Sean Salisbury at noon, Mel Kiper Jr. at 2 and Joe Theismann at 5. ... Former Bucs and Bills kicker Steve Christie chats at 11:30 a.m. at CTVSportsnet.com.

TID-BYTES: During Sunday's game, Superbowl.com will have radio broadcasts available in six languages -- French, Danish, German, Japanese, Russian and Spanish. By policy, CBS Radio won't share the online rights to its English broadcast, even though CBS Sportsline is producing the site. ... New York's Jason Sehorn and Baltimore's Qadry Ismail go head-to-head tonight at the Cuban Club in Ybor City in the sixth annual "Game Before the Game" -- playing NFL GameDay 2001 on PlayStation 2 as a prelude to Sunday's showdown. St. Louis' Marshall Faulk won last year.

-- If you have a question or comment about the Internet or a site to suggest, send an e-mail to staff writer Greg Auman at aumanac1@aol.com.

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