"Why do that? So the devil can't keep up with me," says Donovan, Baltimore's Hall of Fame defensive tackle.

Also in 1957, Doug Eggers, a Colts linebacker, begged for an off-season job with a construction equipment company in Savage. Today, Eggers, 74, owns Chesapeake Supply.

"I've kind of turned the business over to my son, but ... nothing is set in concrete," Eggers says. Most days, he arrives at the office at 7 a.m. and works until midafternoon.

Recently, he presented his old football contracts, which he had squirreled away in a shoebox, to the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum in Baltimore.

"My best year, I made $8,500," Eggers says. "Hard to believe, but I now make twice as much [in pension benefits] for not playing football."

Then there is Bert Rechichar, a defensive back and kicker who, in 1953, booted a then-NFL-record 56-yard field goal for the Colts. Half a century later, he drives a school bus in western Pennsylvania "just to have something to do."

The kids, some of whose grandparents may not have been born when Rechichar started playing, call their 74-year-old driver "Big Bert."

Retiring is "not part of our mentality," says Nutter, the Colts center from La Plata, who had hip replacement surgery last month. Buoyed by a cane, he bounced right back to his job as head of Center Distributors.

"I'm programmed to work," says Nutter, who played for the Colts from 1954 through 1960 and again in 1965. "I never missed a day of practice in my whole football career - and sometimes it took a lot to get there.

"If I could make it to practice, then I can make it to work."

Whether it's Nutter operating a forklift, Nelson slinging pork or Moore counseling troubled youths, the old Colts are probably happier than their modern counterparts who can walk away from the game set for life, says Taylor, the psychologist.

"My feeling is that old-time athletes are more satisfied than those who are retiring today," he says. "Those older guys already had lives outside of the game. It's not like that now."

For a decade, Taylor has advised high-profile athletes of their retirement options, a transition few seem prepared to make.

"They think money will bring them happiness, but my research shows that it doesn't," he says. "The most successful post-career athletes are those who can take the identity and life skills that they learned in sports and apply them to another area of life.

"You can have all of the money in the world, but you still have to fill your time. You can only play so many rounds of golf. You can only have so much stuff."