LINCOLN JOURNAL SPORTS, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 1976 - 17

JR Finds Inner Peace

DENVER (UPI) - Former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Rodgers says a weekend meeting with his religious mentor, the 17-year-old Guru Maharaj Ji, was more exciting than meeting former President Richard Nixon.

"It was good. I got a feeling of sincerity from him. I was happier to meet him than the President (Nixon),” said Rodgers, who now plays for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League.

Rodgers, who wears a silver trimmed medallion of the Guru, said he became a follower, or "Premie" last year after trying find out what was missing in his life.

"When you accomplish as many things as I have, there isn't much left," said Rodgers. "I was happy about all the things I had achieved but I was searching for something more than fortune and fame."

He won the Heisman Trophy while playing for Nebraska and later turned down an offer from the San Diego Chargers of the NFL. He said he signed a $100,000 a year contract his first year with the Alouettes.

Before his conversion, Rodgers said he tried other religious groups, including the Black Muslims, but found them lacking.

"Those didn't really move me like this did," he said. "I've learned that life is more than making touchdowns and money. It's learning to come in contact with yourself."

Rodgers was one of 25 influential members of the Divine Light Mission who met with Maharaj Ji over the weekend to discuss plans for 1976 including the Guru's international tour.

"Because of my success, I can do more on the outside," he said. "As for football, I have won every award they have, so I am just playing to play. I would like to get into a business that I don't have to get beat up every other weekend."