SPORTS

Jays slugger among athletes to appear in ESPN The Magazine's 'Body Issue'

06/27/2012 09:42 EDT | Updated 08/27/2012 05:12 EDT
NEW YORK, N.Y. - Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista is among the athletes who will strip down to pose in ESPN The Magazine's fourth annual "Body Issue."

New York Rangers forward Brad Richards and NFL stars Rob Gronkowski and Maurice Jones-Drew will also appear in the July 13 edition.

With the London Games this summer, the list announced Wednesday is heavy with Olympians, including gymnast Danell Leyva, sprinter Carmelita Jeter, decathlete Ashton Eaton and members of the U.S. women's volleyball team.

The magazine's editor in chief, Chad Millman, says they try to pick athletes who "just recently popped."

Gronkowski is a classic example of that. The New England Patriots tight end emerged as one of the NFL's biggest offensive stars this past season — and it doesn't hurt that he has a penchant for appearing shirtless in photos. The magazine had a commitment from him way back last fall.

Athletes featured in previous years have included Blake Griffin, Hope Solo and Jose Reyes.

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