Gale Sayers, Bears legend and Hall of Fame RB, dies at 77


Chicago Bears Hall of Fame back Gale Sayers , one among the foremost electrifying players in NFL history, died Wednesday. He was 77.

Pro Football Hall of Fame president David Baker announced Sayers' death. No cause was provided.

"All those that love the sport of football mourn the loss of 1 of the best to ever play this game with the passing of Chicago Bears legend Gale Sayers," Baker said during a statement. "He was the very essence of a team player -- quiet, unassuming and always able to compliment a teammate for a key block. Gale was a unprecedented man who overcame an excellent deal of adversity during his NFL career and life.

"The 'Kansas Comet' burst onto the scene within the National league and captured the eye of all of America. Despite playing only 68 NFL games due to an injury-shortened career, Gale was a clear-cut -- and first-ballot -- Hall of Famer for his accomplishments on the sector and for the person of character he was in life.

"The entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Gale. Our thoughts and prayers are together with his wife, Ardie, and their entire family. we'll forever keep his legacy alive to function inspiration for future generations. The Hall of Fame flag will fly at half-staff until he's laid to rest."

Sayers was a lightning bolt within the Bears backfield, with the power to require it the space with every touch. Give Sayers an in. and he took 50 yards. During his ridiculous run with the Bears from 1965-1971, the back epitomized the phrase "keeps defenders awake in the dark ." Sayers struck fear within the hearts of tacklers whenever he touched the ball.

Like a jazz player during a football uniform, Sayers could hit any note at any time. The RB could blow past defensive backs, cut a linebacker out of his shoes, blast through a defensive lineman, or tiptoe through the slightest of holes to sunlight .

Sayers played in seven NFL seasons, seeing the sector in only two games each of his final two years thanks to injury. in only five years, however, Sayers had been so dominant that nobody questions his place within the Hall of Fame.

"The NFL family lost a real friend today with the passing of Gale Sayers. Gale was one among the best men in NFL history and one among the game's most enjoyable players," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said during a statement. "Gale was an electrifying and elusive runner who thrilled fans whenever he touched the ball. He earned his place as a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

"We also will forever remember Gale for his inspiration and kindness. Gale's quiet unassuming demeanor belied his determination, competitiveness and compassion."

Despite an injury-shortened career, the Kansas Comet tallied 4,956 yards and 39 TDs on 991 totes, averaging 5.0 yards per carry. He was named a first-team All-Pro each of his first five seasons, and a four-time Pro Bowler. Sayers was named the NFL Rookie of the Year in 1965 and won the NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 1969 after suffering a right knee injury the previous season.

Sayers was named to the 1960s All-Decade Team, the 50th anniversary All-Time team, the 75th anniversary All-Time Team and therefore the NFL 100th anniversary All-Time Team.


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