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Q&A Paul Hornung
Richard Deitsch
October 02, 2006
The Pro Football Hall of Famer, 70, is the author of Lombardi and Me
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October 02, 2006

Q&a Paul Hornung

The Pro Football Hall of Famer, 70, is the author of Lombardi and Me

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SI: You've said that one of your greatest regrets was that you didn't tell Lombardi how much you loved him before he died in 1970. Do you remember the last conversation you had with him?

Hornung: I visited Vince in the hospital shortly before he died. Mrs. Lombardi said I'd be shocked when I saw him. He weighed about 145 pounds. This was a burly, 215-pound guy. I knew right then the cancer had gotten to him, and it didn't look like he would come back from it. But he was telling me what he was going to do in practice. All he wanted to talk about was football.

SI: You were suspended for the 1963 season for betting on NFL games. You confessed and were back in the league the next year. Did you and Pete Rose ever discuss that?

Hornung: He's a friend of mine, and he'd say, "Paul, I didn't bet." I'd say, "Pete, all I'm telling you is this: The sports public is forgiving. People who follow sports will forgive you if you say you're sorry." I wanted him to do it all those years. He finally did it, but it didn't come off like mine did.

SI: As a former Heisman winner, you get a vote for the award. You'd like to see the voting change, right?

Hornung: We should vote after the bowl games. There are three or four Heisman winners in the last 10 years--and I'm not going to mention names--that if you would have taken the vote after the season, you might not have gotten the same results. You can't vote for this thing in November. The conference championship games and bowl games are too important.

SI: Any player today that reminds you of you?

Hornung: No. They're all faster.

SI: How should we remember Lombardi?

Hornung: He was the best, a man for the ages. A hundred years from now they'll still be talking about him. They'll say there was a helluva coach back in the day who was the best of all time. What was his name? Lombardi.

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