McMahon heading to Natchez ready to play

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 30, 2000

Jim McMahon’s opponents in Tuesday’s Celebrity Skins Game at Beau Pr\u00E9 Country Club had better not expect an easy match.

McMahon’s in it for the competition.

&uot;It allows you to get back into a competitive situation and a locker room atmosphere,&uot; said the former NFL great of his involvement with the Celebrity Players Tour. &uot;I think a lot of guys miss that.&uot;

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However, the fact that the game is for charity does not elude the former Chicago Bear.

&uot;I always try to help when I can,&uot; he said. &uot;Plus it gives me a chance to get out of Chicago. It’s snowing here now. I’m ready for some better weather.&uot;

McMahon and fellow ex-NFL quarterbacks Stan Humphries, Steve Bartkowski and Browning Nagle are stopping in Natchez Monday and Tuesday en route to Ft. Myers, Fla., to compete in the final match of the Celebrity Players Tour season.

The athletes will be on hand at Monday’s CPT gala and auction at Isle of Capri Hotel and will compete in the Skins game Tuesday morning. The events will benefit the Natchez Children’s Home and the Natchez Senior Center.

McMahon first began playing with the tour in 1990, while he was still an active NFL quarterback.

&uot;It was something fun to do in the off-season,&uot; he said. &uot;Now that I’m retired, I can play all year long. I get to hang out with my pals five days a week and hit the ball around.&uot;

Although he likes staying competitive, McMahon said he recognizes his limits as a golfer.

&uot;I’m not doing this to make a living,&uot; he said. &uot;I’d love to win one of these things, but until I get serious, that’s not going to happen.&uot;

But he’s having fun playing at his level, he said.

&uot;I make enough to cover my side bets,&uot; McMahon said. &uot;But I only make bets with guys who shoot like I do.&uot;

Golf is pretty much it for McMahon these days, he said, as far as sports go. Despite earning two Super Bowl rings in his 10-year NFL career and snagging a spot in the College Football Hall of Fame for his passing success at Brigham-Young University, he doesn’t have much to do with the sport of football anymore, he said.

&uot;Football is fun while you’re playing, but when you don’t, it’s boring,&uot; he said.

He did follow football enough to sit up and take notice when his former coach with the Bears, Mike Ditka, traded two years’ worth of New Orleans Saints draft picks for running back Ricky Williams.

&uot;I agree with drafting Ricky Williams, but no one guy is worth all those picks,&uot; McMahon said. &uot;That’s how Dallas got so good in the early ’90s. They traded Herschel Walker and got a ton of draft picks.

&uot;Whoever traded for all those picks will be good for the next several years,&uot; he said.