STANFORD -- Former teammates and administrators recently shared memories of John Elway as Stanford retires his No. 7 jersey with a halftime ceremony Thursday night during the Cardinal-Oregon game at Stanford Stadium:

"It reminded everybody that college football is a game played by people who are only barely not kids anymore."

-- Donald Kennedy, Stanford's president during the Elway era, talking about the 1982 Big Game

"He looked at me, 'Remember this: Those who can, play; those who can't, coach.'"

-- Jim Fassel, Elway's offensive coordinator at Stanford, recalling the young quarterback's sense of humor

"Who's going to tell him he can't play? Is that me or is it you?"

-- Fassel, to father Jack Elway when John had a bad ankle sprain ahead of the 1981 Stanford-San Jose State game

"For two days we had two No. 11s. The defense was upset."

-- Fassel, on why Elway settled for No. 7 as a freshman

"Why are you wearing No. 7?"

-- Stanford's David Shaw to backup quarterback Mark Butterfield when they played for the Cardinal in the early 1990s

"The first practice I had with him I did a little swing route and he threw it really hard. I just watched it go by. 'Dude, I'm not risking my life.'"

-- Star running back Darrin Nelson, on Elway's famous arm strength

"He could throw out a runner at third base with a football."


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-- John Macaulay, center on the football team, catcher in baseball, on Elway's arm as a right fielder.

"I'm just sorry Herschel (Walker) got the Heisman instead of John. That had something to do with me more than him."

-- Former Stanford coach Paul Wiggin, now with the Minnesota Vikings.

"I understood what he meant when I coached Elway."

-- Wiggin, on Doak Walker's famous quote about quarterback Bobby Layne: "Bobby never lost a game. Some days, time just ran out on him."

"If there was time on the clock there was a chance."

-- Andy Geiger, Stanford's athletic director in the Elway era.

"I'd love to see him hit a baseball with the man-muscle he got as a football player."

-- Vince Sakowski, former Stanford third baseman and Elway's close friend

"There was an old trailer park on campus. Eight of us lived in two trailers. Four football players and four baseball players."

-- Sakowski, on living with Elway as sophomores

"He bought a black Mazda or Datsun and got the license plate 007. He was James Bond."

-- Eric Hardgrave, on the car Elway bought after signing a one-year contract with the New York Yankees in 1981

"Ultimately I went to Stanford because it was a quarterback school -- a place known for throwing the football."

-- John Elway, on choosing Stanford as the country's top-rated high school recruit

"If football didn't work out I always had that degree to fall back on. That was the big decider."

-- Elway, on going to Stanford instead of San Jose State, where his dad coached

Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865 and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/elliottalmond.