Football great Walt Sweeney had a soft spot for dogs

 

By Diane Bell
UT San Diego
4:45 P.M.FEB. 4, 2013

Bill Swank had planned to deliver a Local Authors Exhibit medal to former Chargers lineman Walt Sweeney while they watched the Super Bowl here together. But it wasn’t meant to be. Sweeney, 71, diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this month, died Saturday at his home.

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Walt Sweeney of the San Diego Chargers in 1963.

“It took him about 15 years to get his book published,” said Swank, who had helped fine tune Sweeney’s tell-all autobiography, “Off Guard.” The book details Sweeney’s early use of team-approved performance-enhancing drugs and chronicles the impact of drugs and alcohol on his life.

“When he knew he was dying, his biggest concern was finding a home for his dog,” said Swank. “He had a big soft spot. It was a side many people didn’t know about Walt.” In the end, Sweeney’s son, Rick, took in the dachshund. As it turned out, Sweeney had inherited the dog from a friend who, likewise, was dying of cancer…

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