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U. of Pittsburgh
Marino receives rousing ovation from Pitt fans

Sunday, November 10, 2002

By Paul Zeise, Post-Gazette Sports Writer

You can take Dan Marino out of Pittsburgh, but you can't take Pittsburgh out of Marino.

Marino, an Oakland native who starred at quarterback at Central Catholic High School and the University of Pittsburgh, was the honored guest at the Temple-Pitt game yesterday at Heinz Field. In December, he will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

"I have so many memories here," Marino said. "I have friends and family here, and I grew up here, so it is very special to come back here and be honored. I think the fact that I am in the College Football Hall of Fame speaks to the number of great players we had back then."

He said Heinz Field is a wonderful facility but, true to his roots, he added, "I'm sentimental towards Pitt Stadium because I grew up in Oakland and everything."

Marino received a rousing ovation when he was presented with a plaque by Pitt Chancellor Mark Nordenberg, who introduced him as "number 13 in your programs, but number one in your hearts." The ceremony was at the 13-yard line between the first and second quarters.

Before the game, Marino met with reporters and reflected on his career, discussed the state of the Panthers and his work as a commentator for HBO Sports "Inside the NFL" and "The NFL Today" on CBS.

He also talked about Bill Cowher's effort to get him to play for the Steelers after the 1999 season.

"When I was let go by the Dolphins and was deciding whether or not to retire, Coach Cowher called me," Marino said. "He needed an answer right there on the spot, and I just couldn't give it to him."

Marino played for the Panthers from 1979-82 and threw for 8,597 yards and 79 touchdowns. During his four years at Pitt, the Panthers compiled a 42-6 record. After he graduated, he was drafted in the first round by the Miami Dolphins and played for them from 1983-99. He is the NFL's all-time leader in passing attempts (8,358), completions (4,967), yards (61,361) and touchdowns (420).

He is the 21st Panthers' player or coach to enter the College Football Hall of Fame, which is in South Bend, Ind. His induction class includes Reggie White (Tennessee), Kellen Winslow (Missouri) and Ronnie Lott (Southern California).

Paul Zeise can be reached at pzeise@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1720.

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