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Dan Jenkins, the Sports Illustrated writer turned novelist, has passed away at age 90 after suffering heart and renal failure, as well as a broken hip.

Jenkins was one of several writers at SI - other included Roy Blount Jr. and Frank Deford - who brought an uncommon literary sensibility and erudition to their magazine pieces. But Jenkins really hit the big time with “Semi-Tough,” his novel about pro football as seen through the irreverent and politically incorrect eyes of quarterback Billy Clyde Puckett; the book was turned into a movie with Bury Reynolds (naturally) as Billy Clyde.

He also wrote the novels “Dead Solid Perfect,” “Baja Oklahoma,” and “You Gotta Play Hurt,” as well as nonfiction books such as “His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir.”
KC's View:
I don’t know how many young people know who Dan Jenkins is, and to be honest, I’m not even sure how “Semi-Tough:” holds up as a novel; I remember reading the paperback sometime in the mid-seventies. But I also remember laughing as hard as I’ve ever laughed while reading a book … it was just so amazingly observational and and subversive in its view of professional sports. (In fact, I can remember vividly - 40 years later! - the scene in the book that literally made me cry I was laughing so hard. I can’t recount it here, partially because I’d never do it justice, and partially because the prose was not even close to being PG-rated.)