News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Given to Fly

August 12, 2007

Given to Fly: Manning, Colts arrival for camp this year special for longtime Unitas fan

(Continued)

TERRE HAUTE —

“He’ll be the most prolific quarterback that ever was,” Agresta Jr. said. “He’ll set every record. He’ll be the standard for kids in high school. It’s been overstated that he’s a student of the game, I just think he’s got all the tools.”

Agresta Jr. didn’t find out until his father’s death in 1979 that Nick Agresta Sr. played on a semipro team called the Terre Haute Panthers around 1950, which was reported to have been a member of the Midwest Football League, sponsored by the Chicago Bears.

The elder Agresta, like most football fans in Indiana at the time, was a fan of George Halas’ Bears.

“My dad always instilled in me I should be a Bear fan,” Agresta Jr. said.

“He had this great affection for them. He used to watch them on TV on a little black and white. It was kind of a big kick for me and my buddies. When I saw the newspaper clip, it all came into perspective why he was such a diehard fan. It was only after he was gone that I could really appreciate that.”

Agresta Jr. wishes he could have heard stories about his dad’s time playing and coaching with the Panthers.

“I think that generation was a little more guarded, not as outgoing … didn’t talk too much about that kind of stuff,” Agresta Jr. said. “I want to think sometimes I’m pretty laid back, but if I’d have played for a Chicago Bears farm team, I’d have told everybody.”

While his father spoke little of his time with the Panthers, Agresta Jr. knows his father grew up in Steubenville, Ohio, which was 40 miles outside of Pittsburgh, an area that has produced quarterbacks such as Joe Montana, Joe Namath, Jim Kelly, Dan Marino, George Blanda and Marc Bulger.

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