"Are you referring to Charles White, 1979? George Rogers, 1980?"
"You think I'll die young?"
" Ernie Davis, 1961?"
"What are you trying to do to me?"
The S.I.D. tries to offer a defense. He grabs an almanac and starts to shout out names. Barry Sanders, 1988, has done just fine. Tim Brown, 1987. Bo Jackson, 1985, got hurt, but he played two pro sports for a while. Jim Plunkett, 1970, won a Super Bowl or two. What about Florida coach Steve Spurrier, 1966? He's doing great. Roger Staubach, 1963. Paul Hornung, 1956.
"You think I'm going to be suspended for gambling?" the quarterback yells.
The S.I.D. throws his hands in the air. It's too late to argue. The magazines have been mailed to the voters and to media outlets around the country. The campaign cannot be stopped. The quarterback is a Heisman hopeful whether he likes it or not. TV stations have received clips of him throwing during games and studying at the library and visiting local hospitals.
The quarterback begins to sob. He says that part of him wants to take care of this Heisman business with simple failure. He could throw a few interceptions, fumble a few times, lose a couple of big games to knock the large state university out of the national rankings. That would end all speculation. Another part of him, the part that surely will triumph, knows he cannot do that. He will do the best he can on every down in every game. He will try to win and accept his punishment like a man.
"It'll be all right," the S.I.D. says. "You'll be rich. You'll be a star. You'll walk out of the Downtown Athletic Club with the most famous trophy awarded to an individual in U.S. sports, that little running back with the ball tucked under one arm and with the other arm pushing back the onrushing cares of the world."
"Yeah," the quarterback says sadly. "I can put the trophy in the back of my white Ford Bronco for the ride to Canada to play pro basketball."