Happy to swap Bills for bears

For­mer Colts of­fen­sive line­man fondly re­calls his team ‘fam­ily’ but not the hits

Baltimore Sun - - RAVENS WEEKEND - By Mike Klinga­man

He lives in a log house in the wilds of Mon­tana, where griz­zlies roam, streams run clear and cell­phones sel­dom work. That’s fine with Bob Van Duyne.

“I’ll die here,” the one­time Colts of­fen­sive line­man said. But not yet. There is game to hunt, fire­wood to split and more than one moun­tain to climb. Fit and hearty at 64, Van Duyne hiked17 miles one day last week in the high coun­try near his home out­side Kila (pop. 392). In July, he trekked three days through Yel­low­stone Na­tional Park on a fish­ing trip while car­ry­ing a 60-pound pack. Next up: a 19-mile hike through the Grand Te­tons in Wy­oming that will take him to a dizzy­ing 10,700 feet.

Clearly, Van Duyne still has his vigor. Three times on these jaunts, he has been charged by griz­zlies — folks call him “the bear mag­net” — who’ve come within 20 feet be­fore re­treat­ing.

“You say, ‘Hey, bear’ — and they leave,” he said.

Bet­ter he should face bears than a blitz­ing line­backer, Van Duyne said. “At least the bears stopped.” For seven years, Van Duyne played for the Colts, at guard, tackle, cen­ter and even tight end. A10th-round draft pick from Idaho, he ar­rived in 1974 and started the fol­low­ing year, the first of the team’s three con­sec­u­tive NFL divi­sion cham­pi­onships. His ver­sa­til­ity kept Van Duyne around longer.

“My feet were fairly quick,” he said. “I wasn’t big [6 feet 4, 243 pounds], but back then they wanted the cen­ter and guards to stay small to run sweeps and traps. If we weighed in at more than 250 pounds, we got fined.”

For­mer Colt Bob Van Duyne sa­vors his life in the Mon­tana wilder­ness.

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