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Alfred Wright
November 09, 1964
For Columbia, Archie Roberts runs, passes, kicks, tackles and gets a bloody nose every Saturday
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November 09, 1964

Look Out, Mister Roberts

For Columbia, Archie Roberts runs, passes, kicks, tackles and gets a bloody nose every Saturday

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Donelli stood watching Archie throwing passes to the ends and halfbacks at practice one recent afternoon, and it was all he could do to keep his enthusiasm within bounds. "See that pass he just threw?" Buff asked a bystander. "That pass led the man just right, and there was no way the defender could play the man and stop it. Some passes anyone can throw. That pass has to be perfect. Art can throw any kind of pass."

Football players of Archie's stature do not naturally gravitate toward Columbia, although through the years some fine ones like Cliff Montgomery, Sid Luckman and Claude Benham have played there. Archie made his decision all by himself but only after several years of soul-searching. He was only 16� when he received his diploma at Holyoke, and the contest for his enrollment was keen among both the football and the academic institutions. At his father's suggestion, Archie decided to take a year of prep school at Deerfield Academy, where he would spend some time under the guidance of Dr. Frank Boyden, its distinguished Mr. Chipsian headmaster.

"By that time," Archie recalls, "I decided I should go to an institution with a really good medical school. I leaned toward the Ivy League colleges because of the academic reputations they have. I thought a lot about Harvard, but I liked Columbia better after visiting both schools. I particularly liked their pre-medical program and the people I met there, such as Coach Donelli. Maybe I could have made a bigger football reputation somewhere else, but that's not the important thing."

One thing that is important to Archie Roberts right now is whether after graduation he will continue football as a professional. He has had feelers, and he would like to try it. But most of the people close to him deplore the idea; his father is against it, Coach Donelli is against it, Athletic Director Furey is against it. "We don't think we're in the business of getting fellows ready to play for the New York Giants or the New York Yankees," explains Furey, himself a former player of note. "I'm very hopeful that Archie will turn down pro offers and go right into medical school. After all, what kind of money can the pros pay a young man like Archie that would make it worth his while to delay the sort of medical career that he has ahead of him? It would just be peanuts compared to what he will be making in medicine before long."

Archie looks at pro football another way. He thinks he could do it and study medicine at the same time. He cites the cases of Dr. Bill McColl, the onetime end for the Chicago Bears, and Dr. Bobby Brown, the former Yankee third baseman. "I'll just have to wait and see what kind of offers I get," he says, but the pro glint is clearly in his eye.

"It's not the money but the challenge of football," says Barbara Roberts. "I think Archie would play for the pros for nothing just to prove to himself that he could do it. He is one of those people who believe that the busier you are, the better you perform." And there is no doubt that Archie Roberts is a busy young man.

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