UA-59049186-1 In Memoriam: Gale Sayers - Good if it Goes

In Memoriam: Gale Sayers

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Pro Football Hall of Famer and Chicago Bears legend Gale Sayers has passed away at the age of 77. Drafted fourth overall out of Kansas in 1965, Sayers made an instant impact, scoring a league-record 22 touchdowns en route to winning Rookie of the Year honors and being named to the Pro Bowl. The following year, he won the rushing title and was again selected to the Pro Bowl. While Sayers’ numbers were down in 1967 as he shared the workload for the Bears, he still made the Pro Bowl. The following season, his workload returned to previous levels and he was leading the league in rushing when he tore his ACL in week 9. Sayers came back in 1969 and again led the league in rushing, winning Comeback Player of the Year honors and being selected to his fourth Pro Bowl. In 1970, Sayers injured his other knee and missed most of the season. He attempted a comeback in 1971, but wasn’t the same player and ultimately missed most of that season. An attempted comeback in 1972 never made it to the regular season.

Sayers was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977 and remains the youngest inductee ever. He was portrayed by Billy Dee Williams in the 1971 movie Brian’s Song, which depicted his friendship with teammate Brian Piccolo. The two were the league’s first interracial roommates.

Sayers went on to work in the athletic department at Kansas before being named athletic director at SIU-Carbondale in 1976. He left that position in 1981 and went on to found a computer supply company and devoting effort to philanthropic causes in the Chicago area. The last few years of his life, Sayers unfortunately suffered from dementia, to the point that it was difficult for him to sign his own name.



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