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Versatility is nothing new to Jensen. In American Legion baseball he played every position, though pitcher was his best. He had two kinds of knuckleballs, four knuckle curves, a fastball and a side-arm slider. Sometimes he got them over the plate. But the batters were perhaps more intimidated by Anne. "She used to razz the hell out of them," says Karl.
Jensen had control problems when he played quarterback at Central Bucks West High in Doylestown. "They'd put Jimmy in with the team ahead 45-0," says his brother Steve, "and he'd fumble all four downs." The coach remedied that by having Jensen take the ball to bed. "I don't think a football is what he sleeps with now," says Mom.
Ignored by most major colleges, Jensen wound up at BU, where he sat on the bench until midway through his sophomore year. He wanted to play so badly that he asked coach Rick Taylor for a shot at wide receiver. He ended up as a quarterback and a wideout and even snapped for a punt. He finally stuck to quarterbacking as a senior and passed for 1,554 yards to break Harry Agganis's 30-year-old school record.
Jensen was selected to play in the 1981 Senior Bowl, but the game didn't improve his draft status. Since Portland State's Neil Lomax was showcased, Jensen saw only about five minutes of action. One of his few completions was a quick hitch to a split end named Dave Shula, now his wide receiver coach in Miami. Shula remembers gaining five yards on the grab. Jensen, on the other hand, recollects that Shula got nailed for a two-yard loss. "I think that ever since I threw that pass to Dave," says Jensen, "his dad has thought better of using me as a starting quarterback."
Dolphin coach Don Shula drafted Jensen—in the 11th round. "I was an underdog fighting like a mad dog," Jensen says of his 1981 rookie camp. Versatility won him a spot on the roster over Brad Wright, a fourth-round pick from New Mexico who only played quarterback.
As for which position he prefers, Jensen says, "I'd like to be the Dolphins' No. 1 quarterback." He has this thing about ones. "I was born in November, the 11th month," he says. "I'll look at a clock, and it'll be 11 a.m., or I'll be driving down the highway and see Exit 11." Jensen's first NFL start came in the Dolphins' first game this season. He caught his first TD pass with 11:13 left in the first half. Eleven is his number; 13 is Marino's.
Since the sensational Marino is Shula's one-and-only, Jensen's throwing will only be a sideline. But if nominated he will run, and if elected he will pass. All of this has left Don Shula in something of a quandary. "I just don't know what to do with Crash," he says. "He does so many things so well." Jensen's contract runs out at the end of the season. He can't wait to see what his versatility is worth.
Is there anything beyond Jensen's grasp?
"I don't do windows," he says.