1933 - 2002

John Unitas

September 12, 2002

"If - in your lifetime - you get one Johnny Unitas, you're way ahead of the game. There's only one Johnny Unitas. The fact that Baltimore had him as their quarterback, they should never, ever complain about being left out."

Raymond Berry, Baltimore Colts 1955-1967

"He's the greatest thing to ever happen to this city."

Art Donovan, Baltimore Colts

1950, 1953-1961

"Johnny was a master of the game and the king of the last two minutes. No lead was safe if you were playing against Johnny."

Earl Morrall, Baltimore Colts 1968-1971

"When we were kids, he was a hero to us all. He was such a staple, both on the football field and in the Baltimore community."

Cal Ripken, former Oriole

"He was the first of the great modern quarterbacks, and his performance set the standard for everyone who followed him at that position."

Don Shula, Hall of Famer; Colts coach 1963-69

"He is on the short list of players that you can count on one hand of the greatest to ever play."

Art Modell, Ravens owner

"I don't have many heroes. Very plain and simply, Johnny Unitas was one of my heroes."

Ozzie Newsome, Ravens senior vice president of football operations

"He was the nicest person and a wonderful guy, a great storyteller. It's hard to let our heroes go."

Terry Bradshaw, former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback and current Fox Sports analyst

"It's hard to say who's the best because so many things change as eras change. But he was the best."

Len Dawson, former Kansas City Chiefs quarterback

"We followed his college career and eventually drafted him. Unfortunately, we did not give him a chance."

Dan Rooney, Pittsburgh Steelers owner and a former high school opponent of Unitas'

"I think John was the first guy who threw deep on second-and-one, I mean he'd do it from his own 20 and go for all of it at once. They way the respect has grown for him over the years is amazing."

Vince Bagli, Colts radio broadcaster

"He'd hate it if you called him an All-Star but if you listed the top quarterbacks in the history of the league, he'd have to be among them."

Chuck Thompson, Colts radio broadcaster

"He would walk into a huddle, tell the linemen to block, and [say] I'll win the game for you. He would say, 'I'm not bragging, but that's just the way it is.' Tough guy on the field, but big heart off of it."

Lou Michaels, Baltimore Colts 1964-1969

"Johnny Unitas will always be a legendary name in NFL history."

Paul Tagliabue, NFL commissioner

"He was the man who brought professional football to an entire nation. ...There have been many other quarterbacks who had more physical abilities than Johnny Unitas had. None of them had the daring he exhibited. "

Larry Harris, former Sun sportswriter

"When he was asked after the 1958 Sudden Death game why he gambled and threw a pass into the flat on second down in the game-winning drive, he said "It's no gamble if you know what you're doing.' "

Cameron Snyder, former Sun sportswriter.

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