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Q&A Paul Hornung

The Pro Football Hall of Famer, 70, is the author of Lombardi and Me

SI: You've saidthat one of your greatest regrets was that you didn't tell Lombardi how muchyou loved him before he died in 1970. Do you remember the last conversation youhad with him?

Hornung: Ivisited Vince in the hospital shortly before he died. Mrs. Lombardi said I'd beshocked when I saw him. He weighed about 145 pounds. This was a burly,215-pound guy. I knew right then the cancer had gotten to him, and it didn'tlook like he would come back from it. But he was telling me what he was goingto do in practice. All he wanted to talk about was football.

SI: You weresuspended for the 1963 season for betting on NFL games. You confessed and wereback in the league the next year. Did you and Pete Rose ever discuss that?

Hornung: He's afriend of mine, and he'd say, "Paul, I didn't bet." I'd say, "Pete,all I'm telling you is this: The sports public is forgiving. People who followsports will forgive you if you say you're sorry." I wanted him to do it allthose years. He finally did it, but it didn't come off like mine did.

SI: As a formerHeisman winner, you get a vote for the award. You'd like to see the votingchange, right?

Hornung: Weshould vote after the bowl games. There are three or four Heisman winners inthe last 10 years--and I'm not going to mention names--that if you would havetaken the vote after the season, you might not have gotten the same results.You can't vote for this thing in November. The conference championship gamesand bowl games are too important.

SI: Any playertoday that reminds you of you?

Hornung: No.They're all faster.

SI: How should weremember Lombardi?

Hornung: He wasthe best, a man for the ages. A hundred years from now they'll still be talkingabout him. They'll say there was a helluva coach back in the day who was thebest of all time. What was his name? Lombardi.

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