John Mackey, the former Colts great who was inducted into the Hall of Fame earlier this month, received his ring at halftime of the Miami Dolphins-New Orleans Saints preseason game last night at Memorial Stadium.
Mackey played with the Colts from 1963 to 1971 and finished his career in 1972 with the San Diego Chargers.
He became only the second tight end to go into the Hall of Fame this year, joining Mike Ditka, who coaches the Chicago Bears.
Mackey had 331 receptions for 5,236 yards and 28 touchdowns in his NFL career.
In what has become a memorable line, Mackey told Hall of Fame officials he would accept his ring in Baltimore or they could mail it to him.
Welcoming golden arms
Pre-game ceremonies included the re-enactment of Hall of Fame quarterback John Unitas' final touchdown pass as a Colt on Dec. 3, 1972. Receiver Eddie Hinton, who scored on that play, was on hand for the occasion.
Unitas was given a rousing welcome from the crowd.
Recalling the kick
Baltimore missed a chance to capitalize on the memories of the old Colts when game officials barred national media from the Hit And Run Club before the game. Reporters from out of town were disappointed because they wanted to add some old Baltimore flavor to their stories.
The old Colts swapped stories, and one of the best involved place-kicker Jim O'Brien and the Colts' victory in Super Bowl V in Miami's Orange Bowl.
O'Brien had never kicked on artificial turf before and was apprehensive. "I hope they're not counting on me tomorrow," he said the night before the game.
O'Brien's worst fears were realized in the second quarter when his extra-point try after Unitas' 75-yard touchdown pass to Mackey was blocked. But he saved the day when he hit a
32-yarder that won the game, 16-13.
Belgrad a happy man
After the game, Herbert J. Belgrad, chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority, was wearing a smile that stretched from ear to ear.
"We couldn't anticipate it would turn out as well as it did. We just couldn't be more pleased."
Belgrad then held a combination news conference and pep rally as he congratulated the former Colts, the fans and all the officials who helped put the game on.
Matt DeVito, the chairman of the Rouse Corp., then said he had watched the game from the box of Tim Robbie, the Dolphins owner.
He said Robbie wasn't thrilled with the game, but he said when the cheers started for the old Colts, "it was as tough as another hurricane was coming. It was terrific."
Belgrad then provided a fitting finish to the evening by calling on Unitas.
"We certainly appreciate the support of the fans. My hat is off to all of you," Unitas said.
The Saints cut defensive end Otis Moore and fullback Cedric Smith to make room for safeties Brett Maxie and Gene Atkins for last night's game. Maxie and Atkins both ended lengthy holdouts this week.
The Saints also left six injured players in New Orleans along with another recent signee, cornerback Toi Cook.
Miami made one roster move before the game, activating fullback Tony Paige and waiving linebacker Andre Powell with an injury settlement.
The Dolphins left behind six injured starters: running back Mark Higgs, linebacker John Offerdahl, safety Jarvis Williams, wide receiver Mark Clayton, tackle Richmond Webb and cornerback Troy Vincent. Former Maryland tight end Ferrell Edmunds, who has played in only one preseason because of arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, stayed behind as well.
The entire family of Malcolm Glazer, one of Baltimore's three would-be owners of an expansion team, attended the game. Baltimore native and author Tom Clancy watched the game from his father's season-ticket seats. And the third ownership group, clothing magnate Leonard "Boogie" Weinglass, movie-maker Barry Levinson and former Colt Joe Washington, were in a corporate tent before the game.
A $100,000 NFL Charities grant was presented to the Hurricane Andrew National disaster Relief Fund.
Robbie, president of the Dolphins and a member of the board of directors of NFL Charities, and Tom Benson, owner of the Saints, made the presentation to Larry Rank, chairman of the Central Maryland Chapter of the American Red Cross.
The grant will provide $50,000 in disaster relief to the residents of both the Miami and New Orleans areas.
Individuals can send donations to American Red Cross national Disaster Relief Fund, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013. For credit card donations, call 800-842-2200.
The backs of their shirts
With apologies to David Letterman, but none to Robert Irsay, this T-shirt was for sale outside Memorial Stadium last night:
On the front:
"Late Night with Baltimore Football."
On the back:
1. Baltimore's fans deserve it.
2. World Series to spring training is too long.
3. A stadium as good as Oriole Park.
4. Real Baltimoreans can't root for the Redskins.
5. Sunday afternoon tailgate parties.
6. Stadium vendors need the business.
7. The Colt Marching Band is still together.
8. Hooters girls as cheerleaders.
10. Irsay s .