August 30, 2009
Some men were born to be football players. Other men were born to be politicians. For a time, it seemed that Ted Kennedy couldn't figure out which category he belonged in.
Kennedy played right end while at Harvard, once scoring a touchdown during a driving blizzard. His play for the Crimson (or the connections of his father, depending on which story you read) earned the attention of two teams in the then-NFL West division.
From the book The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy:
... Joe Sr. was ecstatic at his son's prowess and prevailed upon a connection at the Chicago Bears to give his son a tryout. The six-foot-two, 200 pound Ted put on the pads, "took two or three hits, and said he'd never been so frightened in his life," recalls former Harvard roommate Ted Carey. Kennedy later got a letter of interest from the Green Bay Packers, but wrote back that he'd rather go to law school.
Had Kennedy played for the Packers instead of going to law school, he would have teamed with future Hall of Famers like Bart Starr, Jerry Kramer, Forrest Gregg Ray Nitschke and Paul Hornung. (Could you have imagined Kennedy and Hornung out on the town together? That pair would have given Vince Lombardi conniptions.)
But Kennedy passed on the offer, which was probably a savvy move, given that he was a bit undersized to play in the NFL. Soon after he earned a seat in the U.S. Senate and remained there until his death on Tuesday.
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