Arthur "Archie" Roberts played for the proverbial cup of coffee in the NFL.
Griese went on to have a fabulous professional career. Roberts went on to try to figure out another niche in life.
He had something else percolating, if you will. Before joining the Dolphins, while with the Cleveland Browns, he spent three years in medical school at Case Western Reserve University. Roberts was on the Browns' payroll but never played.
For two seasons, he reported to training camp and stayed with the Browns through the exhibition season, but then was assigned to the taxi squad as an emergency backup.
His opportunity was a random act of kindness by then-Browns owner Art Modell. Roberts never forgot Modell's generosity and has now paid it forward.
Since January 2004, Roberts has been the point man in providing free cardiovascular screenings for retired NFL players. All in all, there have been more than 40 screening nationwide, with more than 2,000 players taking advantage of those comprehensive tests.
Roberts — a cardiovascular surgeon and founder of the Living Heart Foundation — is now in serious discussions with Orlando Health about a partnership that would expand the program. An announcement could come next month.
"This opportunity for the Living Heart Foundation is significant because it's important for the retired players in so many ways," Roberts said recently during a visit to Orlando for a social event involving retired players. "It couples diagnosis, screening and treatment. That's what you want. You want a chance to do the whole job, not part of the job."
Ironically enough, a stroke in 1997 ended his surgical career, but Roberts pushed on, establishing the Living Heart Foundation in August 2003, leading to the screenings that serve as a valuable safety net for at-risk retired players.
"I think there's been many cardiovascular diagnosis made at the screenings that were unknown and there were many individuals who went through medical treatment or surgery who gained a much healthier life because of the screenings," said Roberts, not getting into specific names for confidentiality reasons.
There's understandably a great deal of focus now on concussions in the NFL, but there are many tentacles involving physical and mental damage when you play professional football. A recent government study indicated that retired pro football players have higher-than-average risks of dying from Alzheimer's or Lou Gehrig's disease. Four times higher than the general population, in fact.
Roberts' studies have found that bigger guys have greater cardiovascular risk, which makes sense. Former Dolphins and Baltimore Colts fullback Don Nottingham fit that bill. He was nicknamed "the Human Bowling Ball" for good reason. At 5-9 and 220 pounds, and blessed with a low-slung center of gravity, Nottingham loved to barrel over opponents.
His playing days spanned seven years, and then he eventually settled in Ocala and starting selling insurance, coupled with his charitable and philanthropic pursuits.
He figured he was in pretty good shape — until he went in for one of Robert's screenings before the Super Bowl played in Tampa in 2009.
The result was quintuple bypass surgery, including a left main coronary artery grimly described as "the widow maker."
"I tell my buddies if I hadn't gone through this process I would have been one of those conversations over lunch when someone says, 'The old Notch dropped dead yesterday,' '' said Nottingham, now 63. "I had no warning. I feel so blessed I got a second chance. My goal is to be the oldest living Nottingham on the planet."
He can thank an old backup quarterback for that. His body of work against the Chiefs barely registers.
But Roberts' NFL legacy grows exponentially day-by-day.