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My New Life

Oct. 04, 2004
Oct. 04, 2004

Table of Contents
Oct. 4, 2004

SCORECARD
CATCHING UP WITH
LETTERS
SI Players
Baseball
Basball
HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
  • By H.G. BISSINGER

    A new movie based on his controversial 1990 best seller about high school football in West Texas took the author on a long-dreaded journey to revisit his main characters

PRO FOOTBALL
College Football
Inside College Football
Inside Tennis
Inside The NFL
Inside Baseball
LIFE OF REILLY
Departments

My New Life

...WITH DANNY WUERFFEL

Danny Wuerffel could still be in the NFL, on the field (the Redskins wanted him as a backup) or on the sideline (a couple of teams offered him coaching positions this off-season), but the Heisman Trophy winner is taking higher aim. "If I had five lives to live, I'd love to keep playing or be a coach," says Wuerffel, 30, who assumed the hands-clapped, eyes-to-the-sky stance after each touchdown pass. "But I have only one."

This is an article from the Oct. 4, 2004 issue Original Layout

In January, weighing a comeback (he was cut by Washington after last season) and working out in New Orleans--where he lives with his wife, Jessica, and their infant son, Jonah--Wuerffel volunteered at a ministry in Desire Street, a ravaged, 1,860-unit low-income housing development. He'd been haunted by the project since his days as a Saint, from 1997 to '99. "I saw these old buildings that looked like something from a bombed out World War II city," Wuerffel recalls. "I thought, Damn, these must have been condemned 20 years ago.... And then a beautiful little girl walked out of one. That's powerful."

Wuerffel--who believed he had about five NFL years left in him--retired and took a job as athletic director and quarterbacks coach for the football team at Desire Academy, the project's junior high and high school. He's become a mentor to dozens of kids and, as the ministry's development director, uses his name and connections to drum up support. Saints owner Tom Benson has contributed substantially to the academy. A Gators booster (Wuerffel starred at Florida) donated 20 PCs. The Orlando Magic gave weight-room equipment. Says Wuerffel, "If using my name to get Desire Street in the door so people will listen is my God-given purpose, then so be it." --Adam Duerson

COLOR PHOTOTED JACKSON (WUERFFEL WITH KIDS)COLOR PHOTOTOM DIPACE (WUERFFEL ACTION)