Off season, Eller studies acting in Los Angeles at the Phillip Browning Workshop. "They teach realism in acting," he says, "the actual portrayal of a character as you see him. Ideally, I see myself playing a more sophisticated type of role. One where you would portray a more defined character. One with great definition. Something like a Lee Marvin or a Tony Quinn. The role I most identify with is Laurence Harvey in Butterfield 8."
Watching Eller swoop down on enemy quarterbacks, it is hard to equate him with Laurence Harvey or the aesthete who sat in a motel room last week and recited poetry, his own: 'What am I? Bird, tulip, grass or green? Whatever."
"I think the poet can be seen in the football player," says Eller. "Football is a great medium of expression, a performance that is more total because it is completely spontaneous. If you knew all about Carl Eller, then you could see Carl Eller in my playing, and from it you'd probably understand me even better."
The other poet of the front four is Marshall, who views life as a series of challenges and rushes forward to meet them all. At the moment his passion is skydiving. Before that there was fencing, skiing, water skiing, scuba diving, hunting, fishing, archery and....
"And oil painting, and licenses in real estate and as a stockbroker, and nine million other things," says Anita Marshall, his beautiful wife. "Nothing he does surprises me anymore."
But sky-diving? A professional athlete?
"Hey, it's 10 times safer than football," says Marshall, who has jumped out of a plane 200 times. "I just woke up at 7 one morning and decided I wanted to try it." At 9 he was at an airfield. At 10 he was at 2,800 feet and stepping out of a plane. "And it was great," he says. "For the first time I felt completely free, completely detached from earth. It was a feeling I've never been able to recapture."
"Now he wants to climb a mountain," says Anita.
"I've got one all picked out. It's in British Columbia. We got to within 60 miles of it last year, but that was as close as we could gel. I've got to climb that mountain."
"We climbed one," says Anita.