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Ex-Bears QB, still playing hard, is now a rebel with a golf club

Jim McMahon joins other celebrities in Heron Lakes shootout

Jim McMahon is busy but, as usual, only on his own terms.

It's not so rough, spending lots of time watching his four children participate in school and athletic activities in suburban Chicago. Oh, there has been some toil: He's been involved in launching his new restaurant, McMahon's.

He will miss tonight's grand opening of the eatery, though. McMahon has a golf date in Portland:Êthe Scott Thomason/Neil Lomax Quarterback Shootout on Saturday at Heron Lakes Golf Course.

McMahon, 42, plays on the Pro Athletes Celebrity Tour and estimates he is on the road 'a couple of hundred days a year' participating in golf events throughout the country.

'It's not a bad life,' McMahon says. 'It beats the hell out of working, man. I never really wanted a job, and I have succeeded so far.'

You remember Jim McMahon as the quarterback of one of the great teams in NFL history, the 1986 Super Bowl champion Chicago Bears.

You probably also remember him as a rebel, the anti-Mormon from Brigham Young who wore the hand-lettered 'ROZELLE' headband to mock commissioner Pete Rozelle's ban on sponsor logos. He liked to party and be a little different, and he won a lot of games in the process.

'I had fun, man,' McMahon says. 'Whatever I needed to do to amuse myself, I did. Being in the (football) business is pretty boring at times. You sit É in the meetings two or three hours a day, go to practice, have meetings after practice. É I mean, you looked forward to Sundays, man. It was a release, a chance to have some fun.'

McMahon's first year as a full-time starter was 1985, and it couldn't have been a more perfect fit Ñ the brash, talented young QB leading a group of veterans that included Walter Payton, Willie Gault, Mike Singletary, Wilbur Marshall and William 'Refrigerator' Perry.

'I would line up against anybody with the guys we had,' McMahon says.

'We were strong on both sides of the ball, and we had good special teams. Hell, they would have been starters on a lot of teams. I mean, Marshall was covering punts as a rookie. We had some great talent.'

Chicago hammered New England 46-10 in the Super Bowl. The Bears won five straight Central Division championships from 1984 to '88, but only one playoff game the three years after their Super Bowl season. During McMahon's four years as a starter, the Bears went 52-11 but reached the sport's Holy Grail only the one time.

'Everybody is a little disappointed about that, but it wasn't like we were only good for one year,' McMahon says. 'It's not like the other sports, where you have a five- or seven-game series. It's one game, and if you screw it up, you are done. We just didn't get it done.'

NOTES: Tee times for the 13th annual shootout start at 10 a.m. Among this year's entries are Charles Barkley, Clyde Drexler, Jerome Kersey, Scott Brosius, Ricky Williams, Marcus Allen, June Jones, Trent Dilfer and Matt Hasselbeck.

McMahon says his handicap is 'my lack of a short game. I shoot between 85 and 72 most of the time. In the last celebrity tournament, I shot 74-75 and finished 29th, 16 shots out of the lead. Those guys are too damn good. I go out to have a good time and see my buddies for four or five days. Sometimes, golf just gets in the way of a good time.' É He might be even better if he played with golf shoes, but you'll never convince him of that. 'I always play barefoot,' he says. 'There is no rule that says you have to wear shoes. Golf isn't about traction, it's about balance, unless you're hitting it on some crappy lies. I guess that is an incentive to stay out of the crap. I always have my thongs with me, anyway.'

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