Helmet, memories, goodwill will have to satisfy Nelson '59 ring in advertisement not one stolen from ex-Colt

March 10, 1997|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,SUN STAFF

All that former All-Pro defensive back Andy Nelson has left is an old Baltimore Colts helmet.

Gone is his 1958 NFL championship ring, stolen last month when his Glen Arm home was burglarized. Gone is his watch from the 1959 championship game win over the New York Giants, stolen in the late 1970s.

Nelson's lone memento from his Colts career (1957-63) is the helmet that equipment manager Fred Schubach gave him in 1964, the year after he retired.

"Still, a little bit of good comes out of bad," said Nelson, 63, who works in sales for Plymouth Rock Transporation. "I've gotten letters and phone calls from people I don't even know, wishing me well and hoping I get the ring back. Probably the only way I'll get it back is if it shows up in a pawn shop."

Nelson had planned to leave the ring to his grandson. He gave the watch to his oldest son Andy when he graduated from the University of South Carolina, but he left it in his car on the seat one day and a thief broke a window and stole it.

"I could have had two rings," Nelson said. "[Colts owner Carroll] Rosenbloom gave us a choice in 1959 -- ring or watch. I already had the 1958 ring, so I took the watch, a Rolex that was probably worth more than a ring."

Soon after Nelson's ring was stolen sometime between Feb. 17 and Feb. 23, a "For Sale" ad appeared in The Sun classified section for a 1959 NFL championship ring.

Was there a connection? Was the thief brazen enough to advertise Nelson's ring but mistakenly call it a 1959?

There was no connection. But the man who placed the ad, who asked not to be identified, was investigated by the police and called by the media.

"The ring is legitimate," he said. "It wasn't given to a player but to a front-office official."

The man finds it ironic that he happens to be a criminal justice major who intends to use the money he gets from the sale of the ring for college tuition.

Pub Date: 3/10/97

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