He’s the subject of perhaps the greatest sports film of all time. He’s Rudy Ruettiger, who is undeniably the most famous walk-on in college football history.

Ruettiger dropped by CBS Sports Radio on Tuesday to discuss his career and the film “Rudy,” which has captivated the hearts and minds of millions of sports fans for almost a quarter of a century. Ruettiger’s dream, of course, was to play football for Notre Dame – and he wound up dressing for the final game of his career in 1975 against Georgia Tech.

Ruettiger didn’t know until that Friday that he would get to dress for the game.

“I almost gave up,” Ruettiger said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “I almost quit – until I saw my janitor friend and another friend and another friend, so we composited that into the janitor (character in the movie). In fact, the one kid who wanted to quit Notre Dame football, I talked him (out of it), he stayed on the team, and he carried me off the field. Five or six years ago, he passed and the family requested a Rudy jersey be put in his coffin.”


For many, Ruettiger is a symbol of hard work and perseverance.

“I was inspired by other people at Notre Dame who worked hard,” Ruettiger said. “There was kids whose parents had (had taken) out three mortgages to get their kids to Notre Dame. I wasn’t the only guy. I represented them, and that’s why ‘Rudy’ works.”


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