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Breakfast With

Jim McMahon

Monday, June 03, 2002

By Patricia Sheridan, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Some remember him singing the "Super Bowl Shuffle" before the Chicago Bears even won Super Bowl XX. That confidence has served him well. From his days as an All-American at Brigham Young University, quarterback Jim McMahon played to win. He spent 15 years in the NFL on seven different teams including the Packers, the Eagles and the Chargers. He is now the national spokesman for the Think First Foundation and offers support to other charities. McMahon is married to Nancy and is the father of four children. He will be among the sports stars teeing off for the 2002 Mellon Mario Lemieux Celebrity Invitational Thursday through June 9 at the Club at Nevillewood. For tickets and information, call 1-888-39-MARIO (1-888-396-2716).

Q. Your trademark sunglasses aren't just a fashion statement.

A. No, I've been wearing them since I was 6 years old. I stuck a fork in my eye. So I have to wear them.

Q. How do you know Mario?

A. Oh, I met Mario 10 or 15 years ago at one of these celebrity golf events. He's a great hockey player and a great guy, and my son plays hockey so I like to talk to him about that.

Q. Has football changed since you played?

A. I retired five years ago. And I got out because it just wasn't any fun anymore. It didn't seem like guys wanted to win. They just wanted to collect checks. I guess I don't blame them, but if you play sports, you should play to win. There are guys out there wanting to win, but it seems to me the majority of them are just happy to be making that kind of money. We still wanted to win championships and I think that has been left out in the cold.

Q. Who is your favorite golf partner?

A. Boy, that's hard. We have so many great guys, and they're all a lot of fun to play with. I probably have the most fun with Dave Archer. He was a quarterback whom I played with in San Diego and Philadelphia. We've known each other for so long. He makes me laugh so hard, I can't even play golf. But it's fun!

Q. What is the Think First Foundation?

A. It's a foundation started by the neurosurgeons to teach kids common sense stuff like wearing a helmet when you are Rollerblading and riding a bike. You know it's staggering, the amount of injuries that occur if you don't do those simple things. The doctors see them every day in the hospital. It doesn't take a weird or a hard fall to hurt yourself. You land the wrong way and hit your head, and you could be screwed up for life. That's what Think First tries to relay to the kids.

Q. Other than sports, what are your passions?

A. I watch movies. My all-time favorite is "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." They all thought McMurphy was crazy, and he was the most sane guy in there.

Q. You have a long-term marriage and four children. How did you manage to keep it together?

A. Well, I mean my wife and I have known each other since '77-78. We dated four years before we got married, and we've been married 20 years as of May 1. She knew me before I was anybody. I haven't changed, and I don't think she's changed much either. So if I was that much of a derelict, I wouldn't have good kids, which I do. And it's cheaper to keep her, I guess.

Q. Is there anything you want people to know about you that they don't?

A. I don't know what all's been written. I don't get the paper and I don't watch the news so.... If it doesn't interfere with my tee time, I really don't give a damn any more. I enjoy golf. I'm not real good at it, but I like hanging out with my buddies.

Q. Do you have your own golf tournament?

A. I host one in Florida -- our last event of the year. I used to have a charity event for about 18 years, but I just don't have the time to do it anymore.

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