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Johnny Unitas

The Entrepreneur

With his thrifty, hardworking, immigrant background, Unitas had long had an interest in business, and after retirement, he launched a second career as an entrepreneur. First he opened a Baltimore restaurant called the Golden Arm, then he became involved in Florida real estate. He served as spokesman for several companies, including manufacturers, a trucker, and a mortgage firm called First Fidelity Financial Services. This last involvement would prove troublesome to Unitas in the mid-1980s, when the company's founder was convicted of fraud, and Unitas himself became the target of a lawsuit for his endorsement of the company.

Though retired from the NFL, Unitas remained active in the world of football. Beginning in 1974, he spent five seasons in the CBS broadcast booth as a commentator, during which time he gained a reputation—as he had long before on the field—for candor and plainspokenness. In 1979, Unitas was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

In the last decade of his life, Unitas was chairman of Unitas Management Corporation, a sports management firm, and worked as vice president of sales for National Circuits, a computer electronics firm. He was also heavily involved in providing opportunities for promising young talents through his Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation. Just 69 years old, Unitas died on a heart attack in Baltimore on September 11, 2002.

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Famous Sports StarsFootballJohnny Unitas Biography - Humble Beginnings, Laboring In Obscurity, First Years With The Colts, A History-making Game