The animal--""the world's biggest and meanest-looking armadillo""--is Joseph Clyman (Jo Jo) Jenkins, a sweet-tempered 6'4"" 270-lb. black giant with a footballer's physique and an artist's sensitivity. An unmotivated youth from a ""roach-drenched"" Watts neighborhood, he's tapped for the gridiron while in high school despite his insistence that he ""ain't no jockstrapper."" Feeling and playing like an uninspired ""performing freak"" in college and the pros, Jo Jo has it just as bad off the field, whether as a cathouse bouncer in Oakland or an unpromising painter in Chicago. Various acquaintances mess up his Golden Boyish bag even further--his old flame Angle, a well-bred reverend's daughter, sets him up to be shot by her brother. . . and then there's his white liberal art instructor Dana who tries for years to get him out of his uniform. A variation on that familiar hook, lineman and sinker genre--this tame third-string defensive tackle is just a benchwarmer.