SI Vault
Late Hit from a Con Artist
Rick Reilly
March 08, 2004
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March 08, 2004

Late Hit From A Con Artist

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So now the bull of a man who served two years under Gen. George Patton, who was all-NFL at wideout and defensive end, spends his days playing solitaire, looking out the window and waiting for Donna to come home. He can't read or write much anymore, soon won't be able to drive and may start wandering away.

It's not like Donna wanted to sell the stuff. She ached at having to do it. After all, Pete himself can't remember specifics about his great career, doesn't remember how many NFL titles he won (two), can't recall the coaches he played under. For Donna those jerseys, those pads, that ball were the last means by which she could hang on to the old Pete—the man Pete himself has forgotten.

Donna still shakes with anger over what you did. She doesn't sleep some nights. And she has no idea what she'll do about taking care of Pete.

Anyway, you better fence the stuff soon. Hall of Famer Ron Mix, an attorney who also runs the Hall of Fame Players Association, says the organization is offering a $5,000 reward (619-688-9630) for information leading to your "arrest, conviction and, if possible, hanging."

The cash might soon go to a collector in Richmond, Jeff Whitmore, who told me this all smelled like the work of a memorabilia dealer from upstate New York with a reputation for skipping out on payments. "He's a real sick puppy," says Whitmore.

Then there's this: When you blew off Mackey at that Baltimore hotel that day, you left an address when you made your "Dr. Hart" reservation. The clerk gave that address to Sylvia Mackey. SI researchers linked it to a man with a different name—the same name provided by Whitmore.

Sylvia remembers working with that man at a memorabilia show in November 2002. She describes him almost word-for-word the way Donna described you: good-looking, 25-ish, "too young to be a doctor," she says. And Sylvia remembers the man's wife, who also shows up as living at that same address.

So either the man and "Dr. Hart" are the same person, or it's a very crowded house in upstate New York. I called the numbers that the man and the so-called doctor had given to the players' wives, and they were either disconnected or the calls went unreturned.

Doesn't matter. Detectives should collar you posthaste.

And how do you think juries will take to your ripping off a football legend who can't even remember his glory days?

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