Cecil Johnson, Tampa Bay Buccaneer outside linebacker, on why he doesn't play middle linebacker: "Playing middle linebacker is like walking through a lion's cage in a three-piece pork-chop suit."
Elaine Johnson, a Canadian amateur golfer, after her shot struck a tree and landed in her bra: "I'll take the two-stroke penalty, but I'll be damned if I'll play it where it lays."
Joe Sexson, Butler basketball coach, on the Kentucky team that beat his squad by 37 points: "Kentucky's players put their pants on the same way that our players do. It just takes them a little longer to pull them up."
George Sheehan, the physician-author who almost mystically extols the supposed pleasures of long-distance running, after withdrawing from the New York Marathon at 13 miles with a pulled muscle: "There is no bad experience in running. But it will take time to figure out why this is a good one."
Gil Perreault, Buffalo Sabres center, naming the three most important aspects of pro hockey: "Forecheck, backcheck, paycheck."
Sugar Ray Leonard, in an address at Harvard: "I consider myself blessed. I consider you blessed, we've all been blessed with God-given talents. Mine just happens to be beatin' people up."
Joe Mowad Jr., 9-year-old son of the Cambridge (Ohio) High football coach, asked if he thought he'd get to play for his father someday: "No, he only has a two-year contract."
Neil Bonnett, stock-car driver, explaining why he has a 300-hp motor on his lightweight 19-foot fishing boat: "You hook a bass at 100 miles an hour and it takes the fight right out of him."
Pat McInally, Cincinnati Bengal punter and wide receiver, asked how the art history courses he took at Harvard have helped him in the NFL: "Well, we do have a draw play."
David Frischmann, 11-year-old third baseman on the Dannemora (N.Y.) Red Sox Pee wee team, explaining why a ground ball went through his legs: "My hands got tongue-tied."
Steven Barry, a 32-year-old plasterer from Cardiff, Wales, who won the 30-km walk in the Commonwealth Games in 2:10:16, when asked how he intended to celebrate: "I'll get plastered."
Tony Johnson, Yale crew coach, on the choppy water at the Cincinnati Regatta, which his team won: "in water like that it's difficult to pick up much ground."
Bill Yeoman, university of Houston football coach, whose players were immunized against a measles outbreak in Waco, Texas, where they proceeded to overcome a 21-0 half time deficit to tie Baylor 21-21: "I thought we had a rather spotty first-half performance."
Ron Davis, Minnesota Twins pitcher, objecting to a newspaper story in which he was quoted as criticizing the club's management for trading away many of its top players: "All I said was that the trades were stupid and dumb, and they took that and blew it all out of proportion."
Tom Lasorda, Dodger manager, on the world Cup: "I was glad to see Italy win. All the guys on the team were Italians."
Dale Berra, Pittsburgh Pirate shortstop and son of noted linguist Yogi Berra, on comparisons between him and his Father "Our similarities are different."
Doug English, Detroit Lion defensive tackle, on the standard objection to using urinalysis to test pro football players for drug use: "Sure, such tests are dehumanizing. But when you think about it, the game of football is, at times."
Lee Trevino, who was once struck by lightning while playing a round, on how other golfers can avoid a similar fate: "Hold up a one-iron and walk. Even God can't hit a one-iron."
Bianca Jagger, discounting the importance of sex: "Unless there's some emotional tie, I'd rather play tennis."
Gord Racette, heavyweight boxer, upon being KO'd by Trevor Berbick 11 months after having been KO'd by Jimmy Young: "Young paralyzed the left side of my face, Berbick the right. This is not what I had in mind."
Frank Layden, coach of the hapless Utah Jazz, to a fan who had just called a referee a fool during a meaningless game late in the '81-82 season with the almost-as-hapless Kansas City Kings: "Who are you calling a fool? You paid to watch this."
Derek Hardy, head golf pro at Snee Farm Country Club in Mount Pleasant, S.C. and Beth Daniel's teaching pro, on why he charges $1,000 for a single lesson yet offers a series of 13 lessons for $140: "If you expect a miracle, you should expect to pay for one."
Tug McGraw, Phillies relief pitcher and proud owner of a 1954 Buick: "I like it because it plays old music."
Carol Mann, golfer, on New Orleans Saints Coach Bum Phillips' crew cut: "It reminds me of a good three-wood lie."
Rich Kelley, much-traveled NBA center, complaining that foes had lately been using unusually rough tactics against him: "Either I'm playing with my face more, or they're playing with their elbows more."