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Antonio Pettigrew, 42
A member of the gold-medal winning 4 × 400-meter U.S. relay team at the 2000 Olympics, Pettigrew surrendered his medal—plus two he won at world championships—when he admitted in May '08 that he had used HGH and EPO for four years. In '91, six years before he began to use PEDs, he won the 400 at the worlds. After retiring, Pettigrew was an assistant track coach at North Carolina; he committed suicide in August.
Don Meredith, 72
Meredith was 31 when he walked away from the NFL, three years removed from being named MVP. His last game as a quarterback was a playoff loss to the Browns in 1968; a year earlier, in the NFL title game, his Cowboys fell to the Packers in the final minute. Crushed, Meredith gave a heartfelt interview to Frank Gifford after the game, and it was largely because of his candor that Roone Arledge hired him as a color man for ABC's new Monday Night Football franchise in 1970. As Howard Cosell's down-home foil, Meredith was more famous during the second act of his career, but again he walked away early and on his own terms. He was seldom in the public eye after 1985, preferring to be with his family in Sante Fe. "I don't feel reclusive," Meredith told SI in 2000. "I actually feel kinda normal."
Bill Dudley, 88
Dudley was surprisingly slow for an NFL halfback—especially for one nicknamed Bullet. He took part in a race among running backs before a 1942 All-Star game and finished 13th out of 14. But the 5'10", 182-pound Dudley had a way of eluding people. He led the nation in all-purpose yardage as a senior at Virginia in 1941, and in '46, four years after the Steelers made him the first pick in the NFL draft, he was named the league's MVP.
Ron Santo, 70
Santo labored at third base for the Cubs for 14 years—nine as an All-Star—without playing a postseason game, then spent two decades as a broadcaster for the cursed club. Still, he remained boundlessly enthusiastic about Chicago's chances, worked tirelessly to fight diabetes (a disease he suffered from for 52 years) and battled courageously against bladder cancer. To Santo, a day at the ballpark was always therapeutic.
Harold Connolly, 79