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.
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.
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.
'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.
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.
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.
If no Unitas Stadium, boycott the Ravens
If Art Modell really cares about the fans of Baltimore, he will cease temporizing and immediately rename the Ravens' football field John Unitas Stadium. Unless he is just angling for money, there is nothing to stop him from doing so.
And, in so doing, he would do justice to our city and earn its undying gratitude.
On the other hand, if he does not, there is one powerful weapon we fans can always use: We can boycott his team.
Leslie K. Lear
Don't blame players for high salaries
Can all these alleged baseball fans once and for all please stop "blaming" baseball players for the amount of money that they make.
Why is it that in our capitalistic society, athletes are the only ones who are vilified for going out and doing their jobs and, as a result, making as much money as possible?
If you are a grass cutter and make $20,000 a year, and someone walks by and sees what a nice job you do, and decides to offer you $40,000 to work across town, wouldn't you take it?
I have heard so many people complain about Alex Rodriguez being greedy for taking $25 million per year to play. Why is it his fault that he was offered that much?
John W. Parker
Maybe 0-16 would humble the Ravens
The 2002 Ravens started the season the way last season ended: They talked the talk but couldn't walk the walk.
The Ravens talk a good game on paper but the end result is they look like a bunch of lost chickens looking for the coop.
If the Ravens want to reduce the embarrassment factor, they need to keep their mouths shut and do their talking on the football field, or else they'll be bulletin-board material for all of their opponents this year.
Maybe 0-16 would shut them up once and for all.
Eric C. Glenn
Ravens' problems tied to Cavanaugh
Why is Matt Cavanaugh still collecting a paycheck? The Ravens have never had an offense under him, not even in a Super Bowl year.
The "offensive genius" label that coach Brian Billick received in Minnesota smells like a "right place at the right time" thing. His support of Cavanaugh's awful performance is starting to look suspicious.
Coverage shows bias against public schools
Football season's recent commencement and The Sun's in-depth coverage of opening-day games of area high schools was a welcome relief from the drudgery of professional baseball's labor disputes.
However, The Sun's continued bias against public-school sporting events in favor of area private schools is cause for discomfort in this reader. One would think that every sports writer for The Sun was an alumnus of Gilman, St. Paul's, Boys' Latin or Friends.
The Sun devoted a lot of space to previewing and covering the Sept. 5 Gilman-Urbana football game, a game only newsworthy by virtue of Urbana's win streak of 50 being broken in a lopsided drubbing.
This, by an elite prep school that cherry-picks athletes from the entire Baltimore metro area. Gilman also happens to play in a league that starts practice two weeks ahead of Frederick County's finest.
Contrast the space allotted to the Towson-Dulaney game, won by Towson, 20-19, a feat not accomplished by Towson in many a year. Oops - no coverage!
A recent article in The Sun noted increases in transfers from area private schools to public schools. The article stated that Baltimore County, with the highest rate of private-school enrollment in the Baltimore area, had 80 percent of its students attending public schools.
How about dividing The Sun's prep sports coverage accordingly?
Galen A. Wallace
Keep outdoors writer closer to home, please
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Candus Thomson write an outdoors column for The Baltimore Sun?
If Ms. Thomson is unaware of the fact, Maryland is host to a wonderful and diverse piece of the "outdoors."
If she needs to be reminded, the Chesapeake Bay is in Maryland, as is part of the Atlantic Coast. If one were to drive three hours to the west from the Baltimore metropolitan area, the mountains of Western Maryland are also in our state.
Explain to me why Ms. Thomson's article on Sept. 8 had to do with Chappaquiddick, Mass. What does this have to do with Maryland outdoors?
Please, Ms. Thomson, write about things that interest Marylanders.
Paul M. Kenney Jr.