People: Jun. 13, 1969

Perhaps it was only a threat, but the tears were certainly authentic. Joe Willie Namath, quarterback of professional football's world-champion New York Jets, insisted that he meant business when he announced at a news conference that he was "retiring reluctantly" from the game—and taking Teammates George Sauer, Pete Lammons and Jim Hudson with him. The 26-year-old superstar, whose high-velocity passes carried the Jets to a startling 16-7 upset over the National Football League's powerful Baltimore Colts earlier this year, gave as his reason the latest in a long series of off-the-field scraps. This...

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