Colts' Donovan gets '58 championship ring back after 34 years

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After a 34-year odyssey that traversed continents as well as decades, Baltimore Colts legend Art Donovan's 1958 NFL Championship ring is finally back where it belongs -- on the beefy 86-year-old former defensive lineman's finger.

With help from police, Donovan's friends and a little luck, the ring -- stolen in Hong Kong in 1977 -- was recently recovered after turning up for sale on Craigslist.

"I hoped the one who stole it had fun with it," Donovan told The Baltimore Sun on Tuesday. "What can you do? Life goes on. People want to ask, 'Did you weep?' There's a lot more things in this world that are more serious than losing a ring."

That 1958 game -- a star-studded, 23-17 overtime victory by the Colts over the New York Giants -- is often referred to as "The Greatest Game Ever Played." Donovan, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1968, lost the ring in 1977 while vacationing with his wife Dottie at a Hong Kong hotel staffed by temporary workers during a strike.

In the late 1980s, police said a jeweler called Donovan and offered to make a deal for the ring, but Donovan refused. Fast forward to 2011, when one of Donovan's friends spotted it listed for $25,000 on Craigslist and called another friend, retired Howard County police officer Peter Wright. He contacted Donovan and then the police, who set up a sting, where Wright found the ring, engraved with the defensive tackle's name and jersey number.

Police said the person who tried to sell the ring, identified as Charles Ice II, will not be charged with a crime. Ice told detectives that the ring had been purchased years earlier by his wife's now-deceased former husband, and that Ice didn't know it had been stolen.

"It's just beautiful," Donovan's eldest daughter, Debbie, told The Sun. "There's not a ding, not a scratch on it."

Donovan, as usual, remains unimpressed by all the attention.

"The ring is great," he said. "But time marches on."



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