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Thirty years after he left school, Stanford football is retiring John Elway's No. 7 jersey.
The former Cardinal quarterback and No. 1 overall pick of the 1983 NFL draft will have his jersey retired during halftime of Stanford's home game against Oregon on Nov. 7. Elway, now the executive vice president of the Denver Broncos, will be only the third player to have his jersey enshrined by the school, joining Ernie Nevers ( No. 1) and Jim Plunkett (No. 16).
"I am extremely humbled that Stanford has chosen to recognize me in this very special way,'' Elway said in a statement released by the university. ``It's a tremendous honor to join Cardinal legends Ernie Nevers and Jim Plunkett with this distinction. Being a student-athlete at Stanford and earning my degree from the school are two things I take the utmost pride in accomplishing.
"Without question, my four years at Stanford played an integral role in who I am and any success I've had. In particular, my teammates and coaches deserve so much credit for making me better, both on and off the field. I will always cherish my time on campus as well as the friendships from Stanford that have lasted more than 30 years. I look forward to returning for this occasion and celebrating with the great Cardinal fans.''
Wide receiver Ty Montgomery and defensive end Aziz Shittu both wear No. 7 currently. They will be the last to wear that jersey at Stanford.
Elway threw for 9,349 yards and 77 touchdowns while completing 62 percent of his passes at Stanford. He held nearly every major passing record -- most of them since shattered by Andrew Luck -- when he left school. Elway still owns the single-game record with six touchdown passes in a 54-13 win against Oregon State on Nov. 1, 1980.
Elway was the Pac-10 Conference Player of the Year in 1980 and 1982, when he also was a consensus All-American. After the Cardinal lost at rival California on the infamous lateral play in his final collegiate game, Elway finished second to Herschel Walker in the 1982 Heisman Trophy voting.
The Baltimore Colts drafted Elway with the top pick in the 1983 draft and traded him to Denver, where he led the Broncos to five Super Bowl appearances and two titles. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004.
``Today is an exciting day for Stanford football, and you can't talk about Stanford football without talking about John Elway,'' said third-year Cardinal coach David Shaw. ``Like Frankie Albert and Jim Plunkett before him, John's Elway's greatness set the standard for quarterback play for a generation of athletes.''