Bears legend Dick Butkus dies at age 80
A couple hours before the Bears took the stage against the Washington Commanders on Thursday Night Football, the fanbase, Bears organization, city of Chicago and football world was given sad news — former Chicago Bears linebacker Dick Butkus died peacefully in his sleep at 80 years old in his Malibu home. The Chicago native and University of Illinois alum was a part of the Chicago Bears from 1965 to 1973.
Butkus was a legend for the Bears and the city of Chicago. He was selected by the Bears in the first round of the 1965 NFL Draft and immediately made an impact at middle linebacker. In his first year, he intercepted 5 passes, forced 6 fumbles and was named a first-team All-Pro as a rookie and continued this dominance throughout his NFL career.
In 9 seasons, Butkus had 1,020 tackles, 25 fumble recoveries, 22 interceptions and 6 All-NFL selections while also being named to 8 straight Pro Bowls. He was known for his intimidating demeanor, always playing angry and instilling fear in all of his opponents whenever he stepped on the field. In 1979, Butkus was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and had his No. 51 retired by the Bears in 1994.
Also, Butkus became an icon for his off-field actions. He was a celebrity endorser, actor and broadcaster, including when he rejoined the Bears in 1985 as a radio broadcaster. Butkus had many philanthropic efforts, including the Butkus Award, which recognizes high school, college and professional football linebackers for athletic achievement and service to the community.