Sports world speaks about Unitas

"It gets clearer every year. To be able to be in Baltimore as a receiver and get to play 12 years with him, I have to classify as the best break I ever got in my career. The type of quarterback he was, the leader he was, he was totally focused on moving the football, scoring points and winning. He never thought about records and individual things, he was all business. He was the toughest competitor you could hope for." - Former Baltimore Colts receiver Raymond Berry

"He was one of the toughest competitors I ever knew, and overcame tremendous odds to become one of the greatest players in NFL history. It was his toughness that enabled him to stay in the pocket until the last moment before releasing the ball, and that always gave his receivers that much more time to get open.

"I always felt that he invented the two-minute drill. He seemed to have a clock in his head and always knew how much time he had to work with. ... He was the first of the great modern quarterbacks, and his performance set the standard for everyone who followed him at that position." - Hall of Fame coach Don Shula

"It was my privilege to know Johnny as a competitor, teammate, roommate and friend. Johnny was a master of the game and the king of the last two minutes. No lead was safe if you were playing against Johnny, and no game was out of reach if you were on his team. He was a true competitor and a friend." - former quarterback Earl Morrall

"Johnny Unitas will always be a legendary name in NFL history One of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game, he epitomized the position with his leadership skills and his ability to perform under pressure." -NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue

"When he was in high school, he was considered by some too small to succeed in football. But, over time, he became larger than life. Without question, Johnny was the reason that football catapulted to the top of the professional sports world. He became a legend in the NFL." - Jim Irsay, Indianapolis Colts owner and chief executive

"It meant so much to me, my family and our team when he embraced us when we first arrived. He is on the short list of players that you can count on one hand of the greatest to ever play. His impact was enormous. He cared so much for this community that he made his home. And he fought for his fellow NFL alumni to increase their benefits and improve their lives." - Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell

"His presence in Baltimore and in the history of the NFL is unmatched. Much of the success the NFL enjoys today can be found in the seeds Johnny planted in the late 1950s and 60s." -Baltimore Ravens coach Brian Billick

"I don't have many heroes. Very plain and simply, Johnny Unitas was one of my heroes. When you think of Baltimore, you think of Johnny Unitas." - Baltimore Ravens senior vice president of football operations Ozzie Newsome

"He's had his arm around me since my college days. I give my utmost sympathy to his family. He was such a great person. I believe he's one of the main reasons I'm an NFL starting quarterback. He had such an impact on me. I'll miss him so much." -Baltimore Ravens quarterback Chris Redman

"You'd knock him down, but I'll be darned, he'd throw a touchdown pass to Raymond Berry or to Jimmy Orr or (John) Mackey or somebody. He'd always find a way to make it happen." - former Baltimore Colts defensive assistant and current San Diego Charger associate head coach Bill Arnsparger

"It's hard to say who's the best because so many things change as eras change. But he was the best." -former Kansas City Chief quarterback Len Dawson

"He was the nicest person and a wonderful guy, a great storyteller. It's hard to let our heroes go. It's so unexpected." - Former Pittburgh Steelers quarterback and current Fox Sports analyst Terry Bradshaw

Johnny Unitas will always be very special to me. Growing up, he was the football player I wanted to be and the idol of many quarterbacks my age. I'm deeply saddened by his passing and extend my thoughts and prayers to his family." -Seattle coach Mike Holmgren

"We followed his college career and eventually drafted him. Unfortunately, we did not give him a chance. We cut him and he was given a tryout with Baltimore, and then went on to be the Player of the Decade and to a Hall of Fame career." - Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, a former high school opponent of Unitas

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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