Steve Beuerlein: An NFL Life (Part III)

When Beuerlein was named to the Pro Bowl team following his 13th season in the NFL, he became the oldest first-time selection at the age of 34.

In the third and final part of Irish Illustrated's interview with former Notre Dame quarterback Steve Beuerlein, he details his 17-year run in the NFL with six organizations, beginning with the Los Angeles Raiders, who made him their fourth-round pick in 1987 draft.

Beuerlein threw for more than 24,000 yards and 147 touchdowns in the NFL, reaching the pinnacle of his career in 1999 when he threw for 4,436 yards and 36 touchdowns en route to his first Pro Bowl at the age of 34.

Beuerlein, who recently returned to his alma mater for the fourth annual Notre Dame Day, continues his broadcasting career with CBS while working in the insurance business in southern California.

He is the father of four children – sons Taylor, 20, and Jacob, 17, and daughters Kailey, 18, and Kendall, 11.

TIM PRISTER: What was draft day like for you 30 years ago this spring?
STEVE BEUERLEIN: When I was a sophomore, Bernie Kosar and I were the top two quarterbacks in the class. With the (shoulder) injury, I had completely fallen off the map, and remember, it was a 12-round draft back then.

Coming off my junior year, when I wasn't even on the draft board, I had worked my way back through my senior year and my Blue-Gray Game performance to a middle-round guy.

On draft day, I went to my buddy's house, hung out, took a nap, and got a phone call a couple hours later from the Raiders in the fourth round.

I hadn't realized how interested the Raiders were. To be going back to southern California – the Raiders were in L.A. then – I was pretty fired up. I would have loved another year with Lou (Holtz) because I think I could have been a first- or second-rounder.

TP: Did you have any trepidation going to Al Davis' organization?
SB: Every player growing up at that time would have viewed the Raiders as one of the top choices with their image and reputation. I knew nothing about Al Davis or the organization, other than I thought it would be pretty cool to play for them.

They had won the Super Bowl a couple years before that. They had slipped in recent years, but they were still a highly-regarded franchise.

They didn't really have a quarterback. Marc Wilson and Rusty Hilger were their quarterbacks. I got one year with Jim Plunkett, but he was on the PUP list and didn't suit up for a game the whole year.

Tom Flores was the coach that drafted me, and Ron Wolf was the general manager. Ron Wolf was the one that said, 'This kid can play.'

My first year, I was red-shirted for lack of a better term. They wanted me to kind of create an injury so they could red-shirt me and protect me. That was pretty common in those days.

I actually did get dinged up in a pre-season game. I hurt my shoulder and they ended up putting me on injured reserve, which gave me a year to soak things up and learn how to be a professional football player.

That first summer, Howie Long realized I had a pretty good basketball history. He saw me play, and Howie used to like to go down to this park in Manhattan Beach. There were a lot of good basketball and volleyball players that hung out there. They played these really high-level pick-up games.

Howie would come by my apartment in this Porsche Cabriolet convertible with his Terminator sunglasses on. He'd pull up to my apartment, honk his horn, and I'd jump in the front seat. I was just a young kid. I thought this was the coolest thing that had ever happened to me. We'd go play basketball two or three times a week.

The only thing he'd mandate was that Beuerlein was on his team. We were a package deal.

TP: Your second year in '88, Mike Shanahan came in as head coach. How did that alter your situation?
SB: Shanahan was the young wonder kid for the Raiders, and the situation had changed dramatically from my first year. They let Marc Wilson go, Plunkett had retired, and Rusty Hilger was cut.

The '87 year, my rookie year, was the strike year. Vince Evans was the guy that came in and played quarterback for the Raiders during the strike year. Al Davis fell in love with Vince Evans because he came through for him during the strike. So the only quarterbacks on the roster in '88 that had a chance to play were Vince Evans and me.

I was sure that they were going to draft someone or make a trade. There was no free agency back then. I didn't think they'd go into the season with the replacement quarterback and the second-year kid who had never played as their quarterbacks. But Mike Shanahan saw something in me and immediately named me the starting quarterback.

I played well enough in the pre-season, and on opening day of the '88 season, I was the starting quarterback for the L.A. Raiders against the San Diego Chargers. I actually caught a pass that day from Marcus Allen, who became one of my good friends.

After we won our opening game, the first game under Shanahan, Al Davis traded away the best offensive tackle in football – Jim Lachey – to get Jay Schroeder. Shanahan wanted me in there and Al Davis wanted Schroeder in there. Guess who won that battle? Shanahan lasted just 20 games as the Raiders' head coach.

Al Davis said Schroeder was going to play and Shanahan said, 'No, this is my team.' So Al Davis fired him.

I finished the '89 season as the starting quarterback, even though Shanahan had been fired early in the year. That's when my rookie contract was up. This began what I call my year in exile.

In 1990, there still wasn't free agency. Al Davis made an offer to me that he knew I couldn't take. It was basically to play for half of what he was paying Jay Schroeder, and I was the starting quarterback.

I didn't want what Jay Schroeder was making. He was one of the higher-paid guys, more than $1 million. I just wanted to be paid like an average starting quarterback or a good backup quarterback. But he wouldn't pay me at that level.

My rookie contract was for $450,000 over three years, including signing bonus, with parts of two years as the starter. Al Davis offered me a three-year deal for $1.5 million. Well that was $500,000 a year and he was paying Schroeder $1.1 million to be my backup. I couldn't sign a three-year deal for that amount because if I had a good year, that compensation should go up.

So he offered a one-year deal for $500,000. I said, 'That's still not a fair deal. That's not even what backup quarterbacks are making.' I thought one year for $600,000-$750,000 would be a fair deal. He wouldn't do it, so I held out of training camp in '90.

After the first week, I realized I didn't have enough money to make it through the season, so I told my agent that I had to take the deal, protect my position, and be in a good spot for the next year.

So I go in to take the deal and Al Davis tells my agent that the deal is no longer on the table. Now the deal is one year for $450,000. I got mad and said I was still holding out. I held out for another week and finally had to take the deal.

At that point, Al Davis had accomplished what he wanted. Schroeder was the starter and Al Davis punished me by not letting me suit up the entire season. I was the scout team quarterback the whole year and Vince Evans was Schroeder's backup.

TP: So how did you get to Dallas under Jimmy Johnson?
SB: Al Davis told me I had the right to seek a trade, but he had the right to match whatever deal I'd get if he wanted to match it. Immediately Norv Turner, who had recruited me at USC and was now running Jimmy Johnson's offense in Dallas, said he wanted me as Troy Aikman's backup. They offered me a two-year deal paying me $500,000 and $600,000, and a $250,000 signing bonus.

My agent told the Raiders we had a deal with the Cowboys, but Al Davis said he wouldn't make the trade. My agent said, 'Okay, then you have to match the contract.' Al Davis said, 'No, we're not going to do that either.' He said they weren't going to pay the $250,000 signing bonus.

My agent said, 'That's not matching the contract,' and Al Davis said, 'Well, that's the deal. What are you going to do, hold out again?'

I couldn't hold out again, but my agent asked him to give his word that I would have a chance to compete for the job again. Al Davis said, 'Okay, we'll let him compete for the job.'

We go into training camp thinking I would get a chance to compete. I didn't see a snap in the pre-season until the final game. I started that last pre-season game, but I was just trade bait because the Raiders had drafted Todd Marinovich.

The next day, they tell me I'm being traded to the Cowboys. I'm like, 'I could have been there in March!' Now I'm going into the week of the first regular-season game and I'm $250,000 lighter than what I would have been.

Obviously, I was happy to be out of the situation I was in, but I was disappointed the way it worked out. It ended up being the best thing that ever happened to me.

TP: So you finally get to Dallas. You had to feel like you were settling into a good situation with your old friend Norv Turner.
SB: There was a ton of young talent in Dallas with guys like Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin and Jay Novacek. They had begun to build a line with Mark Stepnoski, Nate Newton, Mark Tuinei, Kevin Gogan…all these great players.

The quarterback room was Troy and me and some other guys with Norv Turner. Jason Garrett came in the second year, so it was me, Troy, Jason and Norv. It was an unbelievable quarterback room.

I hadn't played in over a year and if I had to play early, it would be a struggle because I was still learning people's names. Fortunately for me, Troy didn't get hurt until the 12th week of the '91 season, so I had plenty of time to get myself acclimated.

Troy suffered a knee injury against the Washington Redskins. They were 11-0 and we were 6-5. The Redskins went on to win the Super Bowl that year with Mark Rypien at quarterback.

I end up coming into the game in the third quarter against Washington. I hit Michael Irvin for a touchdown late and we ended up winning. I sprained my ankle in that game, and then we played the Steelers four days later on Thanksgiving. I had to play because Troy would be out for a couple weeks. I hobbled out there and we beat the Steelers to move to 8-5.

After that second game, Troy went to Jimmy Johnson and said, 'Okay, I'm ready to play.' Jimmy told him they had projected two-to-four weeks before he'd be ready to go, so let's give you another week. Jimmy said, 'We've won two games with Steve. Let's get you healthy.'

So my third start is at home against the Saints. We win. Now Troy says, 'It's been three weeks. I'm ready to play,' and Jimmy says, 'Steve's 3-0. We're going to stick with Steve.' Troy wasn't very happy about that.

We go out and beat the Eagles on the road. Now we're 10-5 and Troy is saying, 'Coach, I'm 100 percent healthy. We've got to get ready for the playoffs.' Jimmy said, 'We're going to stick with Steve. We haven't lost with him yet. He's the hot hand.'

Now we go into Week 16 at home against the Falcons. We win that game. We're 11-5. We're in the playoffs and we're going to Chicago to play the Bears. Troy is champing at the bit, and he's saying, 'Am I the guy or not? It's the playoffs. I'm healthy. I sat for five weeks. I'm ready to go.' Jimmy said, 'I can't do it. Steve's 5-0 as a starter.'

We beat the Bears in Chicago in the wildcard game, so now we go to Detroit the following week. Erik Kramer was like 27-of-30. I only played the first quarter-and-a-half. It was 21-0 right away. I only had one interception, but in the middle of the second quarter, the game was out of control. Troy finished the game and the Redskins went on to win the Super Bowl.

The following year, 1992, we went to the Super Bowl. Troy stayed healthy that whole year and we won it all.

TP: Was that bittersweet to win the Super Bowl sitting behind Aikman?
SB: Not at all. I was ecstatic. I was happy to have been a part of it while re-establishing myself as a starting quarterback. Troy and I are good friends to this day and I was thrilled for him. It was Troy's team and everybody in the locker room knew it. I prepared to play and did the best I could, but the keys belonged to Troy.

TP: What's it like to win a Super Bowl ring?
SB: It's fantastic. There's nothing that compares to it. It was a dream come true. The looks I get when I break that thing out…the awe that people have…It brings back so many memories for me. I felt like a big part of it. Whenever Jimmy Johnson talks about that Super Bowl, he mentions that '91 season and my contributions because that team came together and laid the groundwork for our Super Bowl the next year.

TP: You went to Phoenix the next year. How did you end up with the Cardinals?
SB: The '93 season was the first year of free agency. There was a guy by the name of Joe Montana, who had been cast off by the 49ers. The 49ers had made the decision to commit to Steve Young. So there were two Notre Dame quarterbacks that were the high-profile guys in free agency that season.

The two best situations were with the Kansas City Chiefs and Arizona Cardinals. Unfortunately for me, I didn't get my choice. Both organizations said, 'We really like you, but there's this guy named Montana who just might edge you out.' I wanted to go to Kansas City. I was hoping Joe would choose Phoenix, but he chose Kansas City.

I walked into a great situation in Phoenix that first year. But Bill Bidwill, the owner, had given Joe Bugel, the head coach, a nine-win ultimatum to keep his job. We had a good offensive year and our defense came on. We won four of our last five games to finish 7-9.

We thought we had done enough to save Bugel's job. We loved playing for Joe Bugel. But Bidwill stuck to his guns and fired Bugel.

At this point, I'm now about to have my sixth head coach in eight seasons. I had Tom Flores, Mike Shanahan and Art Shell with the Raiders, Jimmy Johnson for two years and Joe Bugel for one. Bidwill hired Buddy Ryan.

Buddy immediately tore apart our team. He publicly came out and ridiculed everybody, including me. He didn't like me and didn't think I could get the job done.

So who does he bring back in? Jim McMahon and Jay Schroeder. Now I'm in a situation where he's got his boy, Jim McMahon, and my old buddy, Jay Schroeder.

I was the quarterback for a game-and-a-half. We were a top five offense the year before with guys like Ricky Proehl, Gary Clark, Randal Hill, Johnny Bailey, and Larry Centers. We had talent on offense. We had a really good offensive coordinator in Jerry Rhome.

But Buddy blew the whole thing up on offense. He hired Dave Atkins, who is a guy that I respect, but he was a running backs coach. That's all he really knew. He was not in a position to be an offensive coordinator. Matt Cavanaugh was the quarterback coach, and he did everything he could to keep us together. I loved playing for Matt. He was awesome.

TP: Do tell…Jim McMahon.
SB: When he got there, he said, 'My only goal for this season is to not break a sweat. I have no desire to play. I just want to collect the paycheck, throw a few balls in practice, and I'll be a happy camper.'

So in the third game, Buddy started McMahon, and Jim had a few choice words for me. He was just giving me a hard time, but he blamed it on me.

Our offense was so bad. The first two weeks were like a jailbreak. We looked like a high school team trying to play NFL teams. Ricky Proehl dropped a touchdown and Buddy Ryan called him out. Ricky Proehl went on to have a great career.

So we're in Cleveland and McMahon is the starter. He played three series. He had taken so many shots that when he came off the field following that third series, he told Buddy, 'You couldn't pay me enough money go to back out there. I'm done!' He said, 'I didn't sign up for this! We suck! We can't block anybody and you want me to go out there in this situation? No way!'

So they put Schroeder in, and for the last 13 games of the season, Jay and I went back and forth in the lineup, just like old times.

TP: That was it for your Cardinals/Buddy Ryan experience.
SB: Fortunately for me, Buddy put me on the expansion list. Both the Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina Panthers said they were going to take me with their first pick if they won the coin toss. I really wanted to go to Carolina, but Jacksonville won the coin toss and took me.

I was okay with it because Tom Coughlin, who was Jacksonville's head coach, had told me through the whole process that if they got me, they would be patient because it would be a tough situation the first couple years with an expansion team. He said they'd build around me.

This was on Valentine's Day of 1995. Two months later in the draft, they traded for Mark Brunell. I asked Coughlin what this meant. He assured me I was still the guy. He said Brunell was here for the future.

So in the first game in franchise history – we're playing the Houston Oilers in Jacksonville – we're losing 7-0. We're struggling offensively. I didn't turn the ball over, but we looked like it was our first game in franchise history, which it was.

We're in the third quarter and we get a drive going. We're now in their territory. James Stewart, who was our first-round draft choice out of Tennessee, pops a run inside their 20-yard line and fumbles. Houston recovers it.

I go to the sideline and I'm pumping everybody up. We'd had a good drive going and I said, 'We can build on that!' A minute later, Coughlin taps me on the shoulder and says, 'I've got to make a move.'

I said, 'Excuse me? What does that mean?' He said, 'I'm putting in Brunell.' I'm like, 'Coach, what are you talking about? It's 7-0 and it's the first game in franchise history. What do you mean you're making a change?' He goes, 'I've got to make a change. I've got to do it.'

So that told me he had been lying to me the whole time. They had immediate plans for Brunell, which ultimately led to my opportunity to get to Carolina.

Jacksonville tried to get me to take a pay cut because back then, a veteran only had half of his salary protected. So teams that weren't in the playoff hunt would force high-priced veterans to take a pay cut.

They came to me to take a pay cut and I said no. Coughlin said, 'Then we'll release you,' and I said, 'Go ahead because there are a whole bunch of teams making a playoff run that I would love to be a backup quarterback for.'

They decided not to cut me, so I ended up making my full salary. After the season, I had an option on my contract, but both Coughlin and the general manager, Michael Huyghue, told me they were going to let me go.

The first team that called me was the Carolina Panthers.

TP: You didn't emerge right away with Carolina, but it ended up working out well a few years down the road.
SB: I get to Carolina in '96, which is where I wanted to be. Kerry Collins is the starting quarterback and he gets hurt for a stretch. We played the 49ers in Carolina and I was NFL player of the week. I threw for more than 300 yards and we beat them. Steve Young was still the quarterback for the 49ers.

So guess who we're playing in the second game? The Jacksonville Jaguars. The story goes that Coughlin was on a rampage that whole week, trying to get his team fired up after all that had transpired.

So we go down to Jacksonville and lose, but I was off to a good start in Carolina. We almost went to the Super Bowl, but we lost to the Green Bay Packers in the NFC championship with Kerry Collins as the quarterback.

The '97 season didn't go as well for Kerry. He starts having some issues with some off-the-field stuff. He broke his jaw, and I started and played several games. I did pretty well in '96 and '97. Four games into the '98 season, we're 0-4 and Kerry tells our head coach, Dom Capers, that he doesn't want to play anymore.

Dom Capers calls me into his office and says, 'Kerry just quit. You're now our starting quarterback.' I couldn't believe it.

We started out 0-7, but we won four games that year. I took control and we came together as a team. We competed and showed we weren't going to quit. We were ready for big things in 1999.

TP: Now it's the 13th year of your NFL career and you make the Pro Bowl.
SB: The Panthers gave me a new contract, but George Seifert is now the head coach. Capers was fired after the Kerry Collins debacle, even though the team kept fighting.

Seifert brought in Jeff Lewis, who was John Elway's backup in Denver. He was athletic and mobile, and Seifert thought he was going to take over as quarterback. I started the '98 season playing really well. I was leading the NFL in passing and Seifert couldn't get Lewis in there.

I developed a great chemistry with our receiving corps. Rae Carruth, our first-round draft choice a couple years before that, was a really good receiver, but he was, if you recall, arrested for having his wife murdered.

Muhsin Muhammad from Michigan State had no proven track record. Carruth's replacement was Patrick Jeffers, who was a backup receiver in Denver with a history of some knee and back problems, but was really talented. Tight end Wesley Walls was establishing himself as one of the top tight ends in the league. Our fourth wide receiver was Donald Hayes out of Wisconsin, a big, tall rookie.

We're leading the NFL in passing with these guys. Going into Green Bay to take on Brett Favre and the Packers, they hadn't lost in Lambeau Field in December in like eight or 10 years. If we lose that game, we fall out of the playoff race and I know George Seifert might have his opportunity to put in Jeff Lewis.

It was a shootout. I threw for 340-some yards and two or three touchdowns. The last play of the game, we're 4th-and-goal at the five with five seconds left. Seifert calls a quarterback draw…with Beuerlein as the quarterback! His thinking was that nobody in the stadium would be expecting this play.

I run it in there for the touchdown and we win the game. It was the highlight of my pro career. To save my job and to win that game in that fashion against Brett Favre and the Packers in Lambeau Field -- to hear that complete silence in that stadium -- was unbelievable.

That's still considered one of the greatest plays in Carolina franchise history. I was just proud of the way we continued to fight. I think we averaged running the ball 12 or 13 times a game that year. We threw the ball almost every down with unproven receivers and a journeyman quarterback in his 13th year that was leading the NFL in passing.

TP: Looking at your stats, you were sacked 50 times in 1999 and a league-high 62 times in 2000. How did that mid-30s body hold up?
SB: I didn't miss a play, but I had five surgeries after the '99 season. I had a right shoulder for bone chips. Arthroscopic surgery to remove cartilage in my left knee. Left ankle, bone chips…

I had a double hernia, a sports hernia-type thing that I played with the whole season. I actually had that repaired between the last game of the regular season and the Pro Bowl.

My fifth surgery was to relieve the pain I was having from the sports hernia. I actually had torn my abductor tendon, which is the tendon that attaches at the pubic bone. That was a three-month rehab.

Rich Gannon had a breakout year with the Raiders that year. Like me, he was a fourth-round pick. We were like four or five picks apart in the '87 draft. He had sat out a season, so this was his 12th season and my 13th. We were the two oldest first-time Pro-Bowlers in the history of the NFL.

After the 2000 season, I had four more surgeries, but did not miss one play. The opening game of the 2000 season, I destroyed my left shoulder. I didn't find out until the surgery after the season that I had to have my whole left shoulder reconstructed. The doctor said it was like a bomb had gone off in my left shoulder. The bicep tendon was torn. The labrum was detached from the bone. All the ligaments were destroyed.

With four games left in the season, we're playing Green Bay and my elbow pops in pre-game warm-up. I was able to survive the last four games with a tendon and ligament torn.

TP: What was the Pro Bowl experience like?
SB: Ironically, the AFC head coach was Tom Coughlin, and he was blitzing me. You're not supposed to blitz in the Pro Bowl, but he's blitzing me. Tony Dungy is our coach and he's getting really upset with what Coughlin is doing, and Tony Dungy doesn't get upset very often.

The last drive of the game, we're killing them. We're going to run the ball and the game is over. We give the ball to Mike Alstott and Coughlin takes a timeout. I go to the sideline and Dungy is fuming. He never cusses, so it's like, 'Darn it, this guy is really ticking me off!'

So he turns to our coordinator and says, 'If (Coughlin) calls a timeout after this play, we're going to throw a post over the top.' Coughlin calls a timeout. Tony says throw it over the top. We run play-action and Randy Moss runs a post. There's nobody back there. We connect for a touchdown with like a minute to win by three touchdowns.

TP: After throwing for more than 8,000 yards in the 1999-2000 seasons, what led to your departure from Carolina and your sixth organization in Denver?
SB: I had shoulder surgery after the season, which was a major deal. They waited a month and they needed to do surgery on my elbow, not knowing the extent of it. They go in there and I needed Tommy John surgery, but at that stage of my career, I would have had to sit out the whole season coming up. So they repaired the tendon the best they could with the hope that it would hold up. But it was completely torn.

A month after that, I'm due for a bonus from the Panthers. George Seifert had seen what I had gone through the two previous years, not missing a snap and knowing all the surgeries I'd had. He calls me into his office and tells me they're going to release me. He was in charge of personnel decisions as well as head coach.

That was the first year I was going to get paid like a starting quarterback. He released me and I thought strongly about retiring. At that point, I'm thinking that if the Panthers were going to release me after two productive years and all I had been through physically, I didn't want to do this anymore. I'm done.

So who's the first guy that calls me? Mike Shanahan, who was now with the Broncos. He'd told me when the Raiders fired him that if he ever had the chance, he'd hook back up with me.

For anybody else, I wouldn't have come back. But my elbow was feeling better, so I went to Denver. I pushed it a little too hard early on, tore the tendon in my elbow and needed another surgery.

I got to play some the second year when (Brian) Griese was struggling. I started that year, but the Broncos signed Jake Plummer. I was going to retire then, but Shanahan begged me to come back for another year. Again, because it was him – he's still one of my best friends today – I decided to come back for my 17th year.

I got a chance to play and it was going to be a great run in 2003. Plummer had gotten hurt. We beat Pittsburgh in my first game. I hit Rod Smith in the last minute of the game to beat the Steelers.

The next week we go to Minnesota and I'm not playing well. I get hit and my right pinky is compressed, splintered and snapped. Absolutely shattered. I had to have seven screws and a plate put in there, and a new ligament reattached.

My career ended on that note. That was the only game in 17 years that I did not finish the game due to injury. I'd been pulled from a few games, but never left a game due to injury. Both of my hips were surgeries Nos. 20 and 21; 19 came as a player.

TP: How do you feel today physically?
SB: I feel great. The second hip replacement was done back in August, and I'm a new man. I can play golf. I can play basketball and soccer with my kids. I can run around and do whatever I want to do. I can work out. I'm 52 now and as active as I want to be, which is great.

Even though I've got scars all over the place and some bent fingers, a lot of remnants from my career, I really feel great. I've got some aches and pains, but it's all relative to what you're used to.

TP: How much did you make playing in the NFL?
SB: I've never added it up, but I do know George Seifert cost me $5 million by doing what he did. I never got to make the real starter money, but 17 years in the NFL, I made a nice living.

TP: You've been doing broadcasting work for CBS for several years now.
SB: My schedule is chaotic in the fall. I'm working two full-time jobs seven days a week. The last three or four years, I've done between 10 and 14 NFL games each year. I put as much time as I can in the insurance business, and then when I do games, I'm in the home city by Friday morning.

I have a weekly show on CBS Sports Network called NFL Monday Quarterback that I do with Rich Gannon and Trent Green.

TP: You were involved in Notre Dame Day recently.
SB: That was the first time I've done it and they said they want me back next year. I interviewed two or three athletes and the equipment managers at Notre Dame, just to give an insight into the sports side of it. I also did some Facebook live stuff for them.

TP: You sound like a guy who feels pretty blessed.
SB: I do feel blessed. Life has a way of throwing you some curveballs, but when I look back at it, what I have experienced, where I am now with my kids and the opportunities still in front of me, I consider myself to be really lucky.

My parents are still living, I'm close with all my brothers. My kids are in a good environment…I'm going to find my way out to the golf course more down the road, which will make me a happy guy.

I really consider myself to be blessed. A big part of it was and always will be Notre Dame. I owe so much to that school and would not change a thing, even though it was a challenge with a lot of adversity. I would do it all over again and will do anything I can to help and promote Notre Dame. I never say no to Notre Dame.

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