Gale Sayers the Death of a Legend at 77

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Gale Sayer, Chicago Bears legendary Hall of Fame running back, dies Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020. Sayers’ death was deeply resonated by remembering watching him dodge opponents.

Sayers was born on May 30, 1943, in Wichita, Kansas, as Gale Eugene Sayers. Known as an actor and writer for “Brian’s Song” (1971), “Brian’s Song” (2001), and popular soap opera “The Guiding Light” (1952). He has been married to Ardythe Bullard since Dec. 1, 1973.

The Start of Greatness

His star-studded career started in 1962 at Kansas University, where former head coach Mark Mangino tweeted: “Gale was a great player, but he was so much more.” He carried himself with class and always encouraged our players to earn their degrees. He talked more about life than football! KU lost a legend!”

He played three seasons for the Jayhawks, rushing for 2,675 yards, 18 touchdowns, and averaging 6.5 yards per carry. His quick but graceful move on the field earned him the name “The Kansas Comet.”


SAYERSThe Chicago Bears (NFC) in the first round (4th overall) of the 1965 NFL Draft, and the Kansas City Chiefs (AFC) also drafted him in the first round (5th overall) of the 1965 AFL Draft. Sayers decided to play for the Bears, and the journey began.

He electrified Chicago fans for five years from 1965-1971 until his pro football career was cut short by a serious injury to both knees. But in those five years, he left such an incredible impression on those who watched him that when his death was announced Wednesday, an entire nation grieved.


Sayers, along with six others, are Coholder of the NFL record for most touchdowns scored in a single game with six. To pay homage to his greatness, only five other football players have achieved this since the 1960s.

His dynamic running ability helped him earn All-Pro recognition in each of his five full seasons. He was inducted into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame in 1976, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1977.


Two of Sayer’s most personal popular statements are when he carrying the ball; there is no play going through my mind. When I come to a tackler, I do not think, “Now fake one way and cut the other.” My feet go. I don’t think about it at all. I do it, and I don’t really know-how. Where my feet go, I go. And the other is, “just give me 18 inches of daylight. That’s all I need.”


Bears Chairman George McCaskey on Sayers says: “Football fans know well Gale’s many accomplishments on the field, his rare combination of speed and power as the game’s most electrifying runner, a dangerous kick returner, and his comeback from a serious knee injury to lead the league in rushing, and becoming the youngest player inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Coach George Papa Bear Halas said it best when presenting Gale for induction at the Hall of Fame: ‘His like will never be seen again.'”

NFL Films president Steve Sabol once said, “trying to tackle Sayers is like trying to catch a candy wrapper in a wind storm.” Dallas had America’s Team. Chicago had America’s Gift.

Gale Sayers and his great friend, Brian Piccolo, are followed in Chicago history by another Chicago running back tandem, #34 Walter Payton, and his great friend Matt Suey. Maybe if the Bears bring the full-back I-formation back, Chicago may experience greatness once again.

Written by Omari Jahi
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware


NFL: Gale Sayers, legendary Bears running back and Pro Football Hall of Famer, dies at 77, by Patrik Walker

IMDB: Gale Sayers Biography by IMDB

The Kansas City Star: Former KU and Bears star Gale Sayers, ‘The Kansas Comet,’ dies at age 77, by Pete Grathoff

Portland Press Harold: Gale Sayers, Hall of Fame running back, dies at 77, by ASSOCIATED PRESS

Sports Illustrated: The eyes have it when it comes to assessing the greatness of Gale Sayers, by Clark Judge.

MSN: Remembering Gale Sayers: Chicago Bears leaders, teammates, and fans honor the ‘Kansas Comet’ after his death at age 77, by Colleen Kane, Brad Biggs, and Dan Wiederer, Chicago Tribune

Feature and Top Image Courtesy of Michael Tolzmann, Wikimedia – Creative Commons License.

First Inset Image Courtesy of Canoehead72, Wikimedia – Creative Commons License.


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