We threw for a
while and then another one of them came over and said, "I'm Howie. How are
Howie was built
just the opposite of the Tree, wide and close to the ground, like a fort, and I
never saw him when he didn't have a smile on his face. He was the center, and
it was always a little disconcerting to look up to the line of scrimmage and
see Howie bent over, smiling back at me under a rear the size and shape of a
tugboat. But Howie had the lateral movement and he could center; could he ever
He took the ball,
walked six or seven yards away, spread his legs and smiled back at me, upside
down, and said, "How do ya like it?"
I held my hands
out in front and a little to the right the way I'd seen them do it in the old
pictures of the single-wing tailback and said, "Hike."
It must have been
doing 50 or 75 miles an hour when it went by me to the right and halfway down
the field. Howie stood up.
was going to roll," he said, "the way you was standing with your
I was feeling a
little lightheaded, thinking of what could have happened if that ball had come
back right at me. Somebody might have had to pull it out of me, if it didn't go
What he had said
about rolling out bothered me a little, too. I figured that my rolling days
were over and that I was more the stand-up, Tittle type.
I had this vision
of myself in the pocket back there looking out over all that mayhem,
dispassionate, picking and choosing, ignoring the agony around me.
roll, Howie," I said. "I'm an old-fashioned quarterback."