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I KEEP GETTING MY KICKS
George Blanda
July 19, 1971
The world's oldest quarterback was the dramatic hero of the 1970 pro season and the idol of the aging. In this first of a three-part series he tells of his competitive youth, his rise to oblivion (i.e., quarterbacking the Chicago Bears) and his premature retirement 13 years ago—a mistake he will never willingly repeat
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July 19, 1971

I Keep Getting My Kicks

The world's oldest quarterback was the dramatic hero of the 1970 pro season and the idol of the aging. In this first of a three-part series he tells of his competitive youth, his rise to oblivion (i.e., quarterbacking the Chicago Bears) and his premature retirement 13 years ago—a mistake he will never willingly repeat

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The years droned on. Oh, how they droned on! Lujack retired and Luckman quit, and Halas brought in Steve Romanik and Bobby Williams at quarterback. When they didn't make it he brought in more, till it reached the point where we never knew who our quarterback would be from one game to the next. Usually it wouldn't be me. It would be Ed Brown or Zeke Bratkowski or Romanik or Williams or Tommy O'Connell or who knows? The point is: no one quarterback was ever allowed to stick around long enough to learn the system.

The whole thing pains me when I think about it. More than anything else, it was the total and absolute inconsistency that wore me down and broke my spirit. By the time the 1958 season was over, I knew I was on my way out of pro football. In the whole 1958 season I threw the ball seven times, and I could tell they'd given up on me. I was 31 years old and I was on the bench.

Before the 1959 season opened, Halas called me in. "George," he said, "I don't know whether you can make our club this year."

"Well," I said, "I'll have to have some kind of assurance that I'm going to play."

"I can't give you any assurance at all. You have three options. First, you can stay on as a kicker."

"I won't stay on just as a kicker," I said. I won't play for anybody just as a kicker, even now.

"O.K., then there's option No. 2. You can come back and try to make the team as a quarterback, but I don't think you're going to beat out Bratkowski, Brown and Rudy Bukich, not at your age."

"What's the third option?" I asked.

"You can retire."

"Why don't you trade me?"

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