I waited in my car for Eddie DeBartolo to call.
His assistant, Valerie, told me he would call sometime after noon Mountain Time. So at 10:30 my time, I left the 49ers’ media room inside Levi’s Stadium, crossed Tasman Drive, walked to Yellow Parking Lot 2, sat in the driver’s seat of my car and talked to myself for an hour and fifteen minutes, practicing my questions.
At one point, I heard tires grind against the gravel next to me. I woman parked her SUV, and we made eye contact as my lips were moving. I nodded to her. She didn’t nod back. She looked away in horror. Probably thought I was a nut.
At 11:43, my phone buzzed.
“No Caller ID,” flashed on the screen.
“Eddie?” I said as I answered the call.
“Is this Grant?” he asked.
“It is,” I said. “Thank you so much for calling me. And congratulations on being inducted into the Hall of Fame and being honored this Sunday at Levi’s Stadium.”
“Thank you very much,” he said. “But I have to ask. How old are you? You look fresh out of college in your picture.”
“I’m 28. I was born in 1988.”
“So you weren’t even born yet when your dad was raking me over the coals.” He laughed.
“Yeah, I hear he was slightly berserk before he had me.”
“Oh, no, no,” DeBartolo reassured me. “He’s a good man and a great writer.”
“Thank you for saying that.” I said. And then I began the interview. Take the stage, Eddie.
Click here to mead my exclusive interview with the great Eddie DeBartolo.