Run himself into shape? Not Donovan.

"You could draw a 5-foot circle around him at practice and he'd never leave it," Nutter said.

Only once did Donovan ever win a footrace, a 30-yard sprint against a 300-pound rookie during camp in 1960. Fatso won by several yards.

"I felt like Jesse Owens," he recalled later. "I broke the tape with my arms up."

The rookie was released by the team that same day.

Easy to prank

Donovan was the perfect foil for their endless pranks, teammates said.

"He would cuss and carry on, but we knew he loved every minute of it," defensive back Andy Nelson said.

One night, in training camp, players released a live bat in his room. Another time, they hid a dead groundhog in his bed.

"We told Dunnie it was a six-pack of Schlitz, so he would pull back the covers," Sandusky said. "You never heard such swearing and commotion in your life."

At practice the next day, Donovan opened his locker and came face-to-face with the same critter.

"He ran over three or four guys, roaring out of that locker room," Braase said.

Donovan could give as well as take, Colts players said.

"He kept the rest of us [players] honest," tight end Jim Mutscheller said. "If someone got a good write-up in the newspaper, Artie would give him a bad time and say, 'So you think you're a big deal, huh?'

"He had a way of bringing guys down to earth in a joking way so they wouldn't get offended. That we had so good a relationship as a team was, in good part, because of Artie."

As a player, Donovan's biggest salary was $22,000. But football was about much more.

"It's a shame to take money for what we do," he told Marchetti.

It wasn't easy for Donovan to leave the game. Pressured by the front office, he announced his retirement Aug. 30, 1962.

"The Colts have been my whole life," he said. At 38, Donovan was the last active player from the original 1950 club.

"The big lug has been like the Chinese Wall all these years," the late linebacker Bill Pellington said at the time.