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At USC, Lott was a consensus All-America at safety in both his junior and senior seasons. As a junior he also played reserve point guard on the basketball team. Since being selected by San Francisco in the first round of the 1981 draft, he has led the Niners in interceptions four times (twice sharing the lead with others) and has been selected for the Pro Bowl in seven of his eight seasons—four times at cornerback, which he played until 1985, and three at safety. Only two other players, Mel Renfro and Dave Grayson, have ever been named All-Pro at both positions.
Despite an annual salary of $842,500, which makes him one of the highest paid defensive backs in the league, Lott remains remarkably down-to-earth. He has owned a couple of Mercedes, but he now drives a Volkswagen Rabbit. He lives in a modest two-bedroom condominium in Santa Clara. Calif. On the tables in his den are his college diploma (he graduated in four years from USC with a degree in public administration), Suzie's wedding picture and some handmade cards from young 49er fans. The walls of his breakfast nook are covered with inspirational poems and prayers collected by his mother. And his high school diploma is on the nightstand in the guest room.
During the season Lott writes a weekly column for the San Jose Mercury News and does a weekly sports show for KNTV in San Jose. Part of his reimbursement for the show is free commercial time for his restaurant, Sports City Cafe, which he created, and owns with several others, including teammates Roger Craig, Keena Turner and Eric Wright. Lott also has become a devotee of Asian art and culture. "I'm intrigued by the peacefulness," he says. Since 1986, taekwondo has been part of his off-season conditioning program. Three times a week he performs a routine that includes 700 sit-ups, 400 push-ups and hundreds of kicks and punches.
Lott collects photographs of children who have written fan letters to him. Two of his buddies are Tony and Matt Kelly, who are students at Santa Clara High. He met the boys seven years ago at a local park. Lott plays pickup basketball with them and takes them shopping at the mall and out to dinner. For Christmas, the Kellys gave Lott a new basketball.
Lott has recently received letters from Bob Burcina's 15 grandchildren. Each thanked him for having visited their grandpa. Just before he died, Bob also sent Lott a note. Too weak to write, he dictated it to Marie. Along with the letter he included a poem he had written for the 49ers in 1982 that was read on the radio before they faced the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XVI. Marie says Bob sensed that he might not make it to this year's Super Bowl, but he wanted to cheer on his new friend. Bob ended the poem this way:
God goes with you
on your trip to the bowl,