Former Chicago Bears Legend and Hall Of Fame running back Gale Sayers has passed away today at the age of 77 after living with dementia.
Sayers was considered one of the greatest RBs in NFL history despite having his career cut short from a knee injury. Nicknamed The “Kansas Comet” he was the youngest player in football history to ever be inducted in the Hall Of Fame at age 34 despite only playing in the league for seven seasons!
“All those who love the game of football mourn the loss of one of the greatest to ever play this game with the passing of Chicago Bears legend Gale Sayers,” Hall of Fame president and CEO David Baker said in a statement. “He was the very essence of a team player — quiet, unassuming and always ready to compliment a teammate for a key block. Gale was an extraordinary man who overcame a great deal of adversity during his NFL career and life.”
In a statement Commissioner Roger Goodell said, “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 game’s most exciting players.”
“Gale was an electrifying and elusive runner who thrilled fans every time he touched the ball. He earned his place as a first-ballot Hall of Famer. We will also forever remember Gale for his inspiration and kindness. Gale’s quiet unassuming demeanor belied his determination, competitiveness and compassion.”
Sayers was a five time All Pro that averaged 5 yards per carry and led the league twice in rushing including in 1969 (1,032 yards) after having torn the ACL and MCL in his right knee late in the previous season. His career stats 4,956 yards and 39 touchdowns on the ground came primarily over five seasons, as he played sparingly in 1970 and ’71.
As a returner, Sayers was also a beast, scoring six touchdowns and averaging more than 30 yards per kickoff return, with two touchdowns and 14.5 yards per punt return.
Sayers was born in Wichita, Kansas and was an All American at Kansas. The Chicago Bears drafted him in 1965 in the first round where he played for his whole career.
For his bounce-back season in 1969, he was awarded the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award, which he promptly passed on to close friend and teammate Brian Piccolo, who was dying of cancer. Their relationship was detailed in Sayers’ autobiography “I Am Third” and the TV movie “Brian’s Song.”
Sayers was named to the NFL’s 75th Anniversary Team in 1994 at halfback and kick returner, the only player named at two positions.
Sayers’ family this year discussed his experience with dementia. Roger Sayers, his brother, told the Kansas City Star in a phone interview that it’s “tough to build memories all your life, and the next thing you know, you don’t remember anything.”
We at All Everything Entertainment send our deepest condolences to the family of Gale Sayers and as a die hard Chicago Bears fan I personally want to say R.I.P. Gale Sayers and as always Bear Down!