PROVO, Utah (AP) BYU retired Jim McMahon's No. 9 jersey during its game against Utah State on Friday night, a day after the former quarterback was inducted into the school's athletic hall of fame.
The 55-year-old McMahon recently graduated, a requirement for the number retirement and hall of fame. He had to complete four classes, which was not an easy task for the former NFL star who is dealing with early onset dementia following multiple concussions.
''I actually tried doing it two or three times over the last 30 years,'' McMahon said. ''I just couldn't get myself to do the homework. And it gets worse at 55. I told them (Thursday) night, I've studied more the last eight months than the first five years I was here. But I got it done. I had some great teachers helping me out. I'm glad it's over.''
He's the sixth former BYU football player to have his number retired, following Eldon Fortie, Marion Probert, Steve Young, Gifford Nielsen and Ty Detmer.
''This is his place,'' said BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe, McMahon's former college teammate. ''He belongs here. I just told him that he'll be part of this family forever.''
McMahon was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999. He was quick to credit his BYU teammates for setting his football career on the trajectory it took.
''I respect the job they've got to do,'' McMahon said. ''Without them doing their job, I couldn't do mine. I can't block for myself. I couldn't throw to myself. I couldn't play defense. You need those guys.''