Before Matt Forte, before Walter Payton there was Gale Sayers. He is possibliy one of the most over looked running backs in the history of football. Very seldomm does his name get mentioned when the subject of great running backs come up, but in light of the Monday night Football game oof the Greenbay Packers and the Chicago Bears, it is only fitting that we recognize the great Gale Sayers.
Career highlights and awards
2× Consensus All-American (1963, 1964)
4× Pro Bowl (1965, 1966, 1967, 1969)
5× AP First-Team All-Pro (1965–1969)
UPI NFL Rookie of the Year (1965)
UPI Comeback Player of the Year (1969)
3× Pro Bowl Co-MVP (1966, 1967, 1969)
2× NFL Rushing champion (1966, 1969)
NFL 1960s All-Decade Team
NFL 50th Anniversary All-Time Team
NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
Chicago Bears #40 retired
College Football Hall of Fame inductee (1977)
Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee (1977)
List of NFL records
Career NFL statistics as of 1971
Stats at NFL.com
Pro Football Hall of Fame
College Football Hall of Fame
Gale Eugene Sayers (born May 30, 1943), also known as “The Kansas Comet”, is a former American college and professional football player who was a running back in the National Football League (NFL) for seven seasons during the 1960s and early 1970s. He played college football for the University of Kansas, and was twice recognized as an All-American. He was a first-round pick in the 1965 NFL Draft, and played his entire pro career for the NFL’s Chicago Bears.
Sayers is a member of both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame. His friendship with fellow Chicago Bear Brian Piccolo was the basis for the 1971 movie Brian’s Song. He is a successful entrepreneur in the information technology field and an active philanthropist.
[hide] 1 Early years and college career
2 Professional career 2.1 Rookie season (1965)
2.2 Second NFL season (1966)
2.3 Third NFL season (1967)
2.4 First and second injuries
2.5 NFL records
3 Brian’s Song
6 External links
Early years and college career
Born in Wichita, Kansas and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, Sayers graduated from Omaha Central High School. There he set a state long jump record of 24’11¾”. He went on to play college football at the University of Kansas and was a two-time All-American. During his Jayhawk career, he rushed for 2,675 yards and gained 3,917 all-purpose yards. In 1963, he set an NCAA Division I record with a 99-yard run against Nebraska. In his senior year, he led the Jayhawks to a 15-14 upset victory over Oklahoma with a 96-yard kickoff return. Sayers is considered by many to have been the greatest open field runner in college football history. While being interviewed by Len Kasper and Bob Brenly during a broadcast of a Chicago Cubs game on September 8th, 2010, Sayers said he had originally intended to go to the University of Iowa. Sayers said that he decided against going to Iowa after the Iowa head coach, Jerry Burns, did not have time to meet Sayers during his on campus visit.
Rookie season (1965)
Sayers was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the first round of the 1965 NFL Draft, and the Kansas City Chiefs of the American Football League, but signed with Chicago. In his rookie year, he scored an NFL record 22 touchdowns (14 rushing, 6 receiving, and one each on punt and kickoff returns). He gained 1,374 yards from scrimmage and had 2,272 all-purpose yards (also a record, later broken by Tim Brown, who played two more games than Sayers). He tied Ernie Nevers’ and Dub Jones’ record for touchdowns in a single game, with six in a 61-20 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on December 12.
Sayers averaged 5.2 yards per rush and 17.5 yards per reception. His return averages were 14.9 yards per punt return and 31.4 yards per kickoff return. He was the unanimous choice for NFL Rookie of the Year honors. Despite his play, the Bears finished in third place in the NFL Western Conference (behind the Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Colts)
Second NFL season (1966)
In his second season, despite being the focus of opposing defenses, Sayers led the league in rushing with 1,231 yards, averaging 5.4 yards per carry with eight touchdowns. He led the Bears in receiving with 34 catches, 447 yards, and two more scores; he also surpassed his rookie season’s kick return numbers, averaging 31.2 yards per return with two touchdowns. He set another NFL record with 2,440 all-purpose yards despite the Bears’ fifth place finish, with a 5-7-2 record. Sayers also won the first of three Pro Bowl Most Valuable Player awards.