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My career only took off because of one football game. I thought it was funny. ‘Playboy’ called and offered me a cover just like that. I turned them down initially, because I was nervous about it and my boyfriend at the time didn’t want me to do it, but they kept coming back , so I eventually said yes.

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When I did TV shows and movies, the studios did demographic research. They were shocked to find that my audience isn’t just men who are too drunk to turn off the TV after football. It’s women, too. I don’t know exactly why, other than that I’ve tried to remain true to myself for all these years. I have gone through a lot, and I’ve been open about it. Maybe they look at me and can see how you can grow up, have children, continue to be sexy, get married and divorced and, though you grew up poor, live the American dream. I’m very blessed. I’m happy for it all.

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There really has been only one thing in my life that has made me feel complete, and that is the game of football. The ability to throw a football was my God-given talent. That was my blessing and my passion; that was my calling in live, and everything that I’ve accomplished has derived from that.

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I always wanted everyone to like me. I wanted the city of Pittsburgh to be proud of me. But my first few seasons, I could to count the number of people on my bandwagon on one finger.

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Imagine yourself sitting on top of a great thoroughbred horse. You sit up there and you just feel that power. That’s what it was like playing quarterback on that team [the Pittsburgh Steelers]. It was a great ride.

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When Brian told me he grew up in New Mexico, I told him I thought it is cool that people from other countries play football. He corrected me on my geography and agreed to sit down with me anyway.

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Football used to be my god but no longer is. I still love it, I’m still aggressive, I still want to be very successful at it, I want to win a lot of football games. And my job is to be the best football player in the world, because it affords me a life; it pays, it’s my job, and so it hasn’t dulled my senses for the game or the love or the great excitement I get from the game. It’s just that I’m very much at peace with myself because of my faith.

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High national emotions are permissible when a soccer team is playing precisely because they are impermissible at most other times. There aren’t, simply, many other places where you can sing your national anthem until you lose your voice without causing a riot. In the context of soccer, flag-waving nationalism – even chauvinistic, anti-foreigner, flag-waving nationalism – is acceptable in Britain.

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My parents didn’t raise me to be religious. The closest we come to worship is the Trinity of Visa, Mastercard, and American Express. I think the Merryweather cheerleaders confuse me because I missed out on Sunday School. It has to be a miracle. There is no other explanation. How else could they sleep with the football team on Saturday night and be reincarnated as virginal goddesses on Monday?

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Ouch! And Marino goes down quicker than his Boonesfarm-infused sister in the back of my ’68 Cutlass on our first date after watching ‘Love Story’ at the drive-in.

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With Browns’ ticket prices what they are, you just know that all those dads who brought the entire family to sit in the ‘dog pound’ are secretly calculating how much blood they’re going to have to sell next week to put groceries on the table.

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That kid’s got an arm like Uncle Fester at an exhibition of Pre-Colombian… um, Christ, I lost it. I was going for something thick. So what’s with the beard, Grizzly Fouts?