President Ford’s death on Tuesday reminded of a story I wrote last spring about Cotton Warburton, one of San Diego’s first All-Americans in college football as a USC running back, captured in a photograph being tackled by Gerald Ford, an All-American center at Michigan, at the East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 1, 1935 in San Francisco.

Tip O’Neill liked to joke that Ford took too many hits to the head, Bob Hope ribbed him for his errant golf shots and Chevy Chase mimicked him stumbling down the stairs of Air Force One, but Gerald Ford was one of the elite athletes of his time. He turned down professional football contracts to attend law school at Yale and was first elected to the U.S. Congress in 1948.

This story is worth another read to remember President Ford as an athlete.

– TOM SHANAHAN

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