Hall of Famer and former Bears star Gale Sayers has passed away at 77 years of age
The former star of the Chicago Bears, Gale Sayers, considered one of the best runners in the history of the NFL despite a career interrupted by knee injuries, has died at the age of 77 after living with dementia.
Known as the ” Kansas Comet, ” Sayers was voted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame in 1977 despite playing only seven seasons, all with the Bears. At the age of 34, he was the youngest player ever to be inducted into the arena.
“All those who love the game of football mourn the loss of one of the largest in having practiced with the death of the legend of the Chicago Bears, Gale Sayers, ” said President and CEO of the Hall of Fame, David Baker, it’s a statement. “He was the very essence of a team player, quiet, unassuming, and always ready to praise a teammate for a key block. Gale was an extraordinary man who overcame great adversity during his NFL career and life.”
Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement, “The NFL family lost a true friend today with the passing of Gale Sayers. Gale was one of the finest men in NFL history and one of the most exciting players in the sport.
” Gale was an electrifying and elusive runner who thrilled fans every time he touched the ball. He earned his place as a Hall of Famer in his first year of eligibility. We will also forever remember Gale for his inspiration and kindness. Gale’s modest and quiet demeanor contrasted with his determination, competitiveness, and compassion. “
The owner of the Bears, George McCaskey, noted that there is more to the legacy of Sayers that only football game.
“Football fans are well aware of Gale’s many accomplishments on the field: a rare combination of speed and power as an electrifying running back, a dangerous kick-return specialist, his return from a serious knee injury to lead the league. in rushing yards, and become the youngest man to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. People who weren’t even a football fan meet Gale through the TV movie ‘Brian’s Song’ about his friendship with his partner Brian Piccolo. Fifty years later, the movie’s message that brotherhood and love don’t need to be defined by skin color still resonates, ” McCaskey noted…
Sayers was a five-time All-Pro who averaged 5 yards per carries in his career, twice leading the league in rushing yards, including in the 1969 season (1,032 yards) after having torn the anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament of the right knee in the previous year.
A serious left knee injury sustained in 1970 was too much to recover from, and he retired in 1971.
His career numbers of 4,956 yards and 39 rushing touchdowns came primarily through five seasons, given that he played very little in 1970 and ’71.
As a return specialist, Sayers was also devastating, scoring six touchdowns and averaging more than 30 yards per kickoff, with two touchdowns and 14.5 yards per return on punts.
The legendary head coach and owner of the Bears, George Halas, when he presented Sayers for exaltation to the Hall of Fame, said, “If you want to see perfection as a runner, you better have a tape of Gale Sayers. It was poetry in movement, Someone like him will never be seen again. “
Sayers was born in Wichita, Kansas, and was an All-American for Kansas. He was a first-round pick for the Bears in 1965 and once scored six touchdowns in a game.
For his comeback season in 1969, he was awarded the George S. Halas Courage Award, which he promptly presented to his close friend and teammate, Piccolo, who was suffering from terminal cancer. Their relationship was detailed in Sayers’ autobiography “I Am Third” and the television movie “Brian’s Song.”
Sayers was named to the NFL’s 75th Anniversary Ideal Team in 1994 as a running back and kick-return specialist, the only player named to two positions.
Sayers’ family discussed their experiences with dementia earlier this year.
His brother, Roger Sayers, told the Kansas City Star in a telephone interview that it is “difficult to build up all your memories of your life, and the next moment, you don’t remember anything.”