"That's not surprising," said Sam Williams. "Look, you got a big night coming up, quarterbacking your first game, and you got a real case of heavy feet, that's all. Perfectly natural. Nothing to be blamed for."
He had a grin on his face, but I began to wonder if it wasn't one of sympathy. Around the circle of faces there was not a glimmer—even on that of Night Train Lane, whose manner was so easy he was always laughing—to suggest that they weren't all being perfectly serious.
"Aw, come on now," I said. "I haven't got heavy feet, for godsake! Come on now," I said again, watching them, particularly Night Train's eyes, waiting for the laughter to dissolve them and give them away. They all remained solemn. At the edge of the circle players just arriving, who couldn't see past the big phalanx of shoulder pads, wanted to know what was going on.
"Someone fainted?" I heard a voice ask.
"It's his nerves," someone said. "He's got heavy feet."
Friday suddenly said: "I'll tell you something about those shoes. The cleats are worn thin. Hand 'em over and I'll get one of the boys to screw in a new set for you."
I sat down on the bench and took the shoes off, hefting them once more, and shaking my head. Friday disappeared with them.
Someone said, "D'ja ever see such a case of nerves?"
The players began drifting away—those who were dressed heading for the buses out in the parking lot, their cleats crashing against the locker room floor. Someone came by as I waited and said I was wanted—and quick—for the quarterback meeting.
Earl Morrall and Milt Plum, the two quarterbacks, were waiting with Scooter McLean [who was to die of cancer seven months later], the backfield coach. They were in the training room, where one of the whirlpool baths had a message on a paper towel stuck up over the faucets which read, "Reserved for Plimpton."