In what has become a less than forgettable year in sports, another beloved icon passed away early Wednesday morning with the death of Chicago Bears Hall-of-Fame running back, Gale Sayers at the age of 77 of dimensia.
Known for his electrifying elusiveness and speed that earned him the nickname, “The Kansas Comet”, the 6’0 198-pounder out of Wichita, Kansas was selected fourth overall out of Kansas by the Bears in 1965.
Named NFL Rookie of the Year in ’65, Sayers would go on to become a four-time Pro Bowler from 1965-67 and in 1969. Sayers led the NFL in rushing in 1966 and 69. A career that was cut too short, Sayers would also be named NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 1969.
For his amazing seven-year career, Sayers rushed for 4,956 yards, 39 rushing touchdowns in averaging 5.0 yards a carry and 3,172 return yards and eight return touchdowns.
Sayers would be named to the NFL’s 1960’s All-Decade Team, the 50th, 75th and 100th Anniversary All-Time teams, along with seeing his fabled No.40 be retired at Halas Hall and being named 100 of the Greatest Bears Of All-Time.
At the age of 34, he became the youngest player ever inducted into the Hall of Fame.
In a statement shortly released following his sudden death, NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell acknowledged Sayer’s legacy and contribution to the game.
“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.
We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife Ardie, and their family. Our thoughts are with his teammates, the Bears organization, the many fans who remember him as a football player and the many more people who were touched by Gale’s spirit and generosity.”