Former Buffalo Bills Star James Loften Shines in USATF Masters Track

From the Dallas Morning News

New-age Lofton could be attention grabber on track

As with vintage wines, aging is a good thing in the world of masters' running. James Lofton of Plano, the famed NFL receiver- turned-football analyst, celebrated his 45th birthday Thursday. He will now be trying to break a new set of records. Lofton, second to Jerry Rice on the NFL's all-time receiving yardage list, has an opportunity to set national and world age-group track records for 45- to 49-year-olds.

"As I move up in age, the marks are a little more accessible," Lofton said. "It's funny to think, at 40, you're just starting to wet your feet. With this, getting older is better, but it only happens every five years." Lofton will be among more than 150 participants at Saturday's Texas Masters Championships at Jesuit High School. He will compete in the 200- and 400-meter runs at 7:30 and 9 p.m., respectively.

The meet record in the 400 for Lofton's age group is 51.2 seconds, set by Roy Turner in 1987. The national record is 50.2, set by Fred Sowerby in 1994. The recently ratified world record is 49.8.

"I'd love to break 50-flat," Lofton said. "I should be close." Lofton ran the 400 in 50.58 at the USA Track & Field Southwestern Association Championships in Dallas last month.

"In sports, you get in a syndrome of 'What have you done for me lately?' You hate to get into 'the older I get, the better I was.' By continuing to compete, you don't sit around and talk about what you used to do. You talk about what you're planning to do."

In the 200, Lofton has run a 22.5 as a master. The meet record in Lofton's age group is 22.72. The national record is 22.3, and the world record is 22.21.

Lofton missed most of last year with a knee injury. He resumed running two months after undergoing surgery in July. "I had never had surgery before," Lofton said. "I had never had to rehab. As a broadcaster, this gave me a whole new perspective on injury and how to talk about it."

A former football and track star at Stanford, Lofton still splits his time covering NFL and Big 12 games for Fox Sports Net and Westwood One/CBS Radio. During the off-season, he trains and competes on the track.

On Saturday, Lofton said he anticipates feeling the same type of anxiety he used to feel as a wide receiver. "It's all on your shoulders," he said. "It's an individual skill. You have to go out and run hard."

From the Dallas Morning News
July 6, 2001