1933 - 2002

John Unitas

September 13, 2002

"He was my football inspiration, my football hero."

Joe Namath, former New York Jets quarterback who beat the Colts in Super Bowl III

"He played in an era where you could kick, bite, scratch - almost anything went. Imagine if the receivers had free rein down the field like they do today, he might have set records that nobody would ever break."

Joe Montana, former San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback

"I studied John Unitas, studied him tirelessly. ... I admired him tremendously and I could identify how he had started and what he had grown to because of his humble beginnings, because I was a very low-round draft choice."

Bart Starr, former Green Bay Packers quarterback

"When I heard the news, I drove out to the country, parked my truck, and sat and thought awhile. What about? This was the one time I couldn't protect him. I loved John to death."

Jim Parker, former Colts offensive lineman

"When you're a quarterback in this league, you've got to be cocky. In the huddle, you've got to be the boss, and he was. He didn't take anything from anyone."

Art Donovan, former Colts defensive tackle

"It's like being in a huddle with God."

John Mackey, former Colts tight end, on huddling as Unitas called plays

"He was one of the best, if not the best. He was an excellent passer, field general. He could do it all. He really was a good person, a fun person to be around."

Steve Spurrier, Washington Redskins coach

"John Unitas was the greatest quarterback ever, and that's not to offend anyone else who ever played the position. He was outstanding, and I can still see him winning the 1958 champion- ship game. He was a great performer, a great entertainer. John Unitas was the king."

Art Modell, Ravens owner

"Playing in the same era, I always considered him to be the best. He worked on his craft. But he didn't work with a lot of fanfare. He did it himself."

Sonny Jurgensen, former Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback

"John didn't talk a lot, but he didn't have to. He was the leader, and everyone knew it. He made the best of his life, and he enjoyed it. He was content. John was ready to meet his maker."

Fred Miller, former Colts defensive end

"You'd knock him down, but I'll be darned, he'd throw a touchdown pass to Raymond Berry or to Jimmy Orr or [John] Mackey or somebody. He'd always find a way to make it happen."

Bill Arnsparger, former Colts defensive assistant and current San Diego Chargers associate head coach

"When I first came to Baltimore, the first person to greet me was John Unitas. He welcomed me, and we became close friends. We took a picture once, me and him, hugging at a golf course. That picture is on my coffee mug. I take a look at it every morning."

Lou Michaels, former Colts kicker/defensive lineman

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.