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 Gale Sayers

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Gale Sayers

Original Name Gale Eugene Sayers
Birth
Wichita, Sedgwick County, Kansas, USA
Death 23 Sep 2020 (aged 77)
Wakarusa, Elkhart County, Indiana, USA
Burial Burial Details Unknown
Memorial ID 215959424 View Source
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Professional Football Player. He played as both a halfback and return specialist in the National Football League (NFL). He spent seven seasons with the Chicago Bears from 1965 to 1971, but multiple injuries limited him to five seasons of play. He was regarded by his peers as one of the most difficult players to tackle. He played college football for the Kansas Jayhawks and was nicknamed the "Kansas Comet." He compiled 4,020 all-purpose yards over three seasons and was twice recognized as a consensus All-American. In his rookie NFL season, he set a league record by scoring 22 touchdowns that included a record-tying six in one game. He also gained 2,272 all-purpose yards and was named the NFL's Rookie of the Year. He continued this production through his first five seasons, earning four Pro Bowl appearances and five first-team All-Pro selections. A right knee injury made him miss the final five games of the 1968 season, but he returned in 1969 to lead the NFL in rushing yards and be named the NFL Comeback Player of the Year. A major injury to his left knee in 1970 was too much for him to overcome, and he retired in 1971. His career numbers of 4,956 yards and 39 touchdowns on the ground came primarily over five seasons, as he played sparingly in 1970 and 1971. As a returner, Sayers was also shocking, scoring six touchdowns and averaging more than 30 yards per kickoff return, with two touchdowns and 14.5 yards per punt return. His friendship with Bears teammate Brian Piccolo, who died of cancer in 1970, inspired Sayers to write his autobiography, “I Am Third,” which in turn was the basis for the 1971 made-for-TV movie “Brian's Song.” At the age of 34 in 1977, he became the youngest player to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977, and he remains the youngest person to have received the honor. He was named to the NFL's 75th Anniversary Team as a halfback and kick returner, the only player to occupy two positions on the team. For his achievements in college, Sayers was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame the same year. His jersey number (40/48, respectively) is retired by both the Bears and the University of Kansas. Following his NFL career, he began a career in sports administration and business, and served as the athletic director of Southern Illinois University from 1976 to 1981. In 1999, he was ranked 22nd on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players.

Bio by: Glendora


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