Home » Sports » Smallthoughts: Old School Tuesday …Dick Butkus

Smallthoughts: Old School Tuesday …Dick Butkus

Start here


Butkus todayButkus head on Dick butkusDick Butkus in action

Dick Butkus was drafted in the first round by both the Denver Broncos of the American Football League and his hometown team, the Chicago Bears of the NFL. He signed with the Bears and did not play professionally with any other team. Along with fellow Hall of Famer Gale Sayers, Butkus was one of three first round picks for the Bears in 1965 NFL Draft, having used the pick they acquired in a trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Butkus and their own pick on Sayers. The team also drafted defensive end Steve DeLong, however he chose to play for the AFL’s San Diego Chargers for the first seven years of his professional career.

Butkus was selected to eight Pro Bowls and was all-league six times. In his rookie season, Butkus led the Bears in tackles, interceptions, forced fumbles, and fumble recoveries, and regularly led the team in these categories throughout his career. Butkus recovered 27 fumbles in his career, an NFL record at the time of his retirement. He was one of the most feared players of his era and even appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1970 with the caption “The Most Feared Man in the Game.” He had one of his most productive seasons in 1970 with 132 tackles, 84 assists, 3 interceptions and 2 fumble recoveries. He was forced to retire after multiple knee injuries in 1973.

One of Butkus’ greatest strengths was his ability to rip the ball from a ball carrier’s hands. Although back then the statistic was not kept, it has been noted that Butkus would certainly be one of the all-time leaders in the forced fumbles category.

At one point, Butkus gained a reputation as one of the meanest players on an otherwise bad Bears team in the late 1960s, and during his tenure, the Bears won 48 games, lost 74 and tied 4.[4]

Butkus filed a lawsuit against the Bears in 1975, claiming the Bears knowingly kept him on the field when he should have had surgery on his knees. The Bears denied Butkus and their other players the right to seek second opinions with doctors other than the Bears team doctor. The team would also distribute painkillers so that Butkus, a major gate attraction, would be active.[citation needed]

Because of the lawsuit, Butkus’ relationship with owner George Halas became icy. Butkus did return to the Bears as a color analyst on radio broadcasts in 1985, teaming with first-year play-by-play man Wayne Larrivee and former St. Louis Cardinals quarterback Jim Hart.

Butkus was also selected the 70th Greatest Athlete of the 20th Century by ESPN,[5] the ninth-best player in NFL history by The Sporting News, and the fifth-best by the Associated Press. The National Football League named him to their All-Time team in 2000. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979. He was named as head coach of the XFL‘s Chicago Enforcers franchise but was replaced with coach Ron Meyer for the league’s only season in 2001. Instead, Butkus served as the league’s Director of Competition.

Smallthoughts: Old School Tuesday salutes …Dick Butkus.

Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 1973
Tackles 1,020
Interceptions 22
Fumble Recoveries 27
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: