And together with Ray Berry, he developed the pass thrown out of bounds that Berry would grab with his body, legs, and arms fully extended - reaching nearly horizontally out of bounds while he dragged his feet barely in play to make the catch that Unitas had thrown deliberately toward the bench.

Not the most physically endowed, but he was impossible to unnerve and fellow opponents would swear he had ice water in his veins.

Unitas was a true innovator and gambler, and the NFL owes much of its success today to those early days of TV when Unitas worked his magic.

Hats off to you, sir - Mr. John Unitas.

-Ron Cucina, Nottingham

My father was a big Colts fan. Needless to say, that made him a big Johnny Unitas fan.

Born in 1969, I never had a chance to see the great Unitas play. But I knew what he meant to my dad, this city and to the sport of football.

When I began going to the Colts games in 1976, I heard the whispers in Section 8 Upper. "Unitas would have got it in there" or "Unitas wouldn't have thrown that interception."

I heard it enough to know how good he was without ever seeing him play.

It's not always the game that makes you a fan. Sometimes it's just the man playing whose talent and persona rise above all others.

-Dwayne Showalter, Jarrettsville

The passing of Johnny U. brought back 40-year-old memories of touch football games on Laurel Drive as fresh as yesterday: "Down and out." "Down, out, and long." "Go Long." "Stop and go." "Buttonhook." "Three completes for a first down."

Thank you, Mr. Unitas, for giving us something to aspire to. We were all No. 19.

-David Feigelson, Memphis, Tenn.

"Time will not dim the glory of his deeds."

It is impossible to compare athletes of one era to another since they do not play on the same fields, but their characters do play in the same arena as chronicled in the media.

With John Unitas, we got greatness with dignity, humility and grace.

-Dave Reich, Perry Hall

Johnny U. played in an era that is so different from today, an era when first downs were simply part of the job, and certainly never celebrated, an era when defenses were not just allowed but encouraged to "manhandle" quarterbacks, an era that expected quarterbacks to think ... and to call their own plays!

My intent is not to disparage systems and personalities of today, just to point out especially to younger readers that football has grown enormously, in part due to No. 19 and his peers.