Here Marsh reached both hands down to his right leg, pressed a button on the side of his black boot and, to gasps from the audience, removed the prosthesis from his stump and raised it in the air. "Fact of the matter is, you cannot pay me enough money to make this worth my while," he said, holding the boot aloft. "This is a real issue.... Seventy times a game you run into a human being as big as you are. They say that's like a traffic accident.... What is that, 1,400 traffic accidents a year? And we're gonna say it's O.K. because we pay 'em a lot of money...but they don't deserve to get the same tiling that we give everyone else?"
The bill was never enacted.
For all that he has been through, Marsh is remarkably free of bitterness, even though he believes his amputation was the result of poor medical care. "I'm not looking for pity," he says. "That's just the way it is." For him and for countless other veterans of pro football's trench warfare.
A whole battalion of Curt Marshes and Chris Washingtons and Earl Campbells is out there, enough to fill an NFL Old Soldiers' Home, doddering arthritically around the grounds. Busted knees, numb and bulbous ankles, sawed-off hips and all.