September 22, 2002

Unitas was a hero, champion, role model

John Unitas, like the field at Memorial Stadium, has moved on. For us in Baltimore, time will not dim the glory of his deeds either.

There is no question that he was the greatest quarterback on the football field. But John Unitas was just as great off of the field. If you met him in public, as so many of us did, he was a funny and genuinely human figure. It was always easy to feel that he truly was a hero and a champion.

Some athletes feel that they should not be required to be a role model, but some just naturally are. Athletes like John Unitas and Cal Ripken were mentors and gave themselves to the players around them.

Sometimes people are made out to be heroes after they're gone. John Unitas always has been a true hero for many of us. We will miss him.

Scott Huffman


As focal point, Unitas truly united a city

While it may seem trite to some, to many of us it is all together fitting that Johnny Unitas' last name formed a homophone for the phrase "unite us."

Truly, Johnny was the focal point for a unique phenomenon that united a city, a state and a region. Through John Unitas, a football team and thousands of fans grew united in the belief that dedication, hard work, integrity, mutual support and a dose of faith could produce superlative - even glorious - results.

As player, family man and community stalwart, his advice, presence and ready handshake continued to unify and inspire to the end.

We can only pray that we will continue to be blessed with such heroes who can so inspire and unite us.

George Conklin

Ellicott City

Memories of Unitas as an `everyday' man

I, too, am a great fan of Johnny Unitas, but my memories are more of the humanitarian and "everyday" man than the football player.

I have the honor of being a member of Baltimore's Marching Ravens. We performed at a great number of charitable functions that Johnny also attended and, of course, the home football games of the Ravens.

He always had a smile and a wink for us, allowed me the privilege of kissing his cheek, and posed with me for a picture I treasure.

I can also remember him and several other "old" Colts in the very early morning hours at a local TV station for a "Give Baltimore The Ball" rally, where his humor and warmth made a cold, too-early morning performance a pleasure to be part of.

My deepest sympathies, of course, go to his family, but my sympathies go to all of us because we've all lost a hero, a legend and, even more importantly, a friend.

Kathy Clow


`Golden Arm' will never be tarnished

In an age when many of our heroes are tarnished in life and sometimes after their deaths, I find it somewhat ironic that Mr. Unitas was the "man with the golden arm."

How fitting, because as you know, gold never tarnishes.

Thank you, John, for being not just the best quarterback in history, but for just being you.

Linda Hurd


Player's celebration no way to honor Unitas

On a day set aside to honor Johnny Unitas, I was embarrassed to be rooting for the Ravens. Not because they had their helmets handed to them by Tampa Bay last Sunday, but because of the total un-Unitas way they behaved.

One play in particular sticks out. Sometime in the third quarter, well after it was apparent the game was over, Cornell Brown made a tackle. It didn't cause a fumble, prevent a touchdown or even rattle the guy's bones. It was just a tackle.

Brown did exactly what he is paid to do. He tackled the running back. After the tackle, Brown jumped up and did a little victory dance like he had just been picked to do the "I'm going to Disney World" commercial.

What in the world was he celebrating? His team was getting the living snot beat out of it.

During the Unitas video tribute, we never saw No. 19 dancing or spiking the football. He scored a touchdown and flipped the ball to the ref as if it was no big deal.

He was a class act of a man just doing his job - better than anyone else could have.

I understand that on-the-field celebrations are now part of the game. But I surely wish our team showed a little pride and held the celebrations until there was something worth dancing about.

David Caltrider

Roland Park

Want Unitas Stadium? Send more money

Hey Baltimore, so you want to name your stadium after Johnny Unitas, undeniably one of the greatest field generals to ever lead a football team? No problem.

If everyone who feels this way were to simply send greedy Art Modell (or whoever else owns the team) a few sawbucks a year for the next 10 years, the dilemma would be solved. Owners don't care where the money comes from, just as long as they get it. Maybe the players could plunk down a few C-notes as well.

I would lead this grassroots effort myself, but several factors preclude me from doing so. I feel I've already given more than my fair share to build the stadium through my tax "contributions" and lottery donations.

Jack Drury


If no Unitas Stadium, boycott the Ravens

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