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Late Starter
David Fleming
April 10, 2000
A backup for most of his 13-year career, Steve Beuerlein finally has a tight grip on the first-string quarterback job in Carolina
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April 10, 2000

Late Starter

A backup for most of his 13-year career, Steve Beuerlein finally has a tight grip on the first-string quarterback job in Carolina

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Provided, of course, that his body holds up. Over the past two years Beuerlein has been sacked a league-high 94 times. Since the end of last season he has undergone surgery to fix a hernia, to remove bone spurs from his right shoulder and bone chips and spurs from his left ankle and to extract loose cartilage from his left knee. Two days after leaving the hospital in February following the last surgery, he was getting ready for a black-tie charity event in Charlotte. To keep the healing incisions from getting wet in the shower, he had wrapped parts of his body in plastic wrap. When he tried to put on his tux, he was too sore to button his shirt. He gave up and plopped on the bed. Forty-five minutes passed before Kristen came in to see why he was taking so long. "It was the saddest sight I have ever seen," she says. "He was so frustrated and tired and sore. I wanted to give him a big hug, but that would have hurt too much."

As they worked together on the tux, the Beuerleins burst into laughter. It was a joyous, cleansing fit of laughter.

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