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Original Issue

To an Athlete Dying Young

JOE ROTH was the quintessential golden boy, a quarterback with blond curls and a dazzling smile whose Cal Bears led the nation in total offense in 1975. A little over a year later he was dead, from melanoma, at age 21. Don't Quit: The Joe Roth Story is a chronicle of Roth's short but shimmering life, a Brian's Song for the 30 for 30 generation. The film features beautiful, washed-out archival footage that Instagram filters can only hope to replicate, and interviews with Roth's family, teammates, coaches and opponents, including Tony Dungy and Dick Vermeil. In November of his senior year, Roth was given 90 days to live, but he participated in postseason all-star games while undergoing chemo, never betraying his condition to teammates. "He wanted to be an ordinary Joe," his mother, Lena, says. "But he was different."