I made an appropriate snort of dismay; Curry apologized and continued about Volk: "He had a powerfully built upper body...with a face straight out of the Vienna Choir Boys; you'd expect to see him with one of those little candle-snuffers that acolytes carry. But he's never had any calves! We got on him about it. The only thing he could counter with was 'Have you ever seen a thoroughbred with big calves?' That was the best he could do."
"What about knees?" I asked. I remembered Gil Mains, a Detroit Lions tackle I'd known who had been hurt in a game against San Francisco and whose knee looked as though a pillow had been sewn into it.
"Billy Ray Smith of the Colts had one of the really bad knees," Curry was saying. "He tore it all to pieces early in his career with Pittsburgh. Buddy Parker, the coach of the Steelers, accused him of being chicken. So he went ahead and played on it. It is so bad that his scar stretches from the top of his thigh across his knee and down around his calf, where the ligaments were rebuilt with tissue removed from the outside part of his leg. He was told that not only would he never play again, he'd be fortunate if he walked again. He went on to play 11 more years in the National Football League after that.
"But I guess Taz Anderson, who played tight end for St. Louis and Atlanta, really had the worst knees in captivity. He had 10 knee operations; they'd taken so much out that the last time they went in they actually found a metal clamp that somebody had left...one of the doctors along the way."
"It isn't easy to talk about knees," I said.
Curry shrugged. "The pain is always there, but it's not gruesome, and it doesn't keep you from functioning," he said, thinking of his own damaged knee.
"What about thighs?" I asked, to change the subject.
Curry shifted in his seat. "This is painful," he said. "I've probably got the worst thighs of any NFL player. People meet me: 'This is Bill Curry. He played center for the Baltimore Colts.' They're impressed. But if I happen to have on shorts and they look at my legs, they get this real suspicious look. I just don't have big thighs. Never have."
"Do you know the Ronald Searle caricatures?" I asked. "The long thin legs and the tanklike bodies on top?"
"I hadn't thought of myself quite that way."