He's 80 now, and slightly bent, as if preparing to set in a three-point stance. Three hip replacements, plus a new knee, will do that to a man.
Not that Ordell Braase is complaining.
"Physically, I'm in pretty good shape," said Braase, longtime defensive end for the
The years haven't fogged his recollections of the 1968
Not that Braase is bragging.
"Sometimes, you get too much credit," the two-time
"As the game went on, I thought, 'Hey, this is all right. I wish I could do this every Sunday.' "
The victory avenged both Baltimore's earlier 30-20 loss to the Browns, the only blemish on their 13-1 season, and the 1964 championship, a 27-0 Cleveland upset. The win also sent the Colts, clear favorites, into
"That game was not so happy," Braase said of the 16-7 loss to the
"I'd like to have gone out a winner, but when your time comes, you recognize it and there's no sense hanging around," said Braase, a 14th round draft pick from South Dakota who broke in with the Colts in 1957.
"I still run into people who ask, 'How in the world could they ever have drafted someone from South Dakota back then?' I can't answer that. I just know I'm very thankful for those 12 years in Baltimore."
No matter, he said.
"Gino was my hero, the greatest defensive end who ever played," Braase said. "He amazed me. From him, I learned that if you want to stay around, you darn well better get in the passer's face. Otherwise, it doesn't take too much of a quarterback to move the ball downfield."
For three years, Braase also served as head of the
"We made some inroads, but nothing really significant like today," he said. "Back then, (Commissioner)
Braase hung around. He opened a restaurant in Timonium, The Flaming Pit, from which he and Colts' Hall of Famer
"Good gracious, you don't go head-to-head with Artie," he said. "I'd throw him a line and let him run with it. We didn't need dialogue; Artie had his own."
Nowadays, Braase spends his summers in Towson and winters in Bradenton, Fla. His wife, Janice, died of
"I walk 45 minutes a day, try to stay out of trouble and make sure no one runs me over at street crossings," he said.
He still wears the gold watch that Colts players received for defeating Cleveland in the 1968 title game. The timepiece is inscribed with Braase's initials and his jersey number (81).
"The watch works fine," he said. "It's one of those that, when you move, it winds itself. So I better keep moving."