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Chicago Bears Legend, Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers Dies at age 77

Hall of Fame Chicago Bears Dick Butkus (L) and Gale Sayers chat. Photo by: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Former Chicago Bears stud running back Gale Sayers died at age 77 after living with dementia.

Sayers is considered one of the best backs in NFL history, despite a career cut short by knee injuries.

His quote “Just give me 18 inches of daylight. That’s all I need,” is still legendary. Also, he wasn’t lying. After all, he was known as the “Kansas Comet.”

Bears Chairman George H. McCaskey released a statement on the Bears website.

“Football fans know well Gale’s many accomplishments on the field: a rare combination of speed and power as the game’s most electrifying runner, a dangerous kick returner, 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,” Bears Chairman George H. McCaskey said in a statement. “People who weren’t even football fans came to know Gale through the TV movie ‘Brian’s Song,’ about his friendship with teammate Brian Piccolo. Fifty years later, the movie’s message that brotherhood and love needn’t be defined by skin color, still resonates.

“Coach [George] Halas said it best, when presenting Gale for induction at the Hall of Fame: ‘His like will never be seen again.’

“On behalf of the McCaskey family, we offer our sincerest condolences to [his wife] Ardie and the entire Sayers family.”

Sayers was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977 at age 34. He was the youngest player ever inducted.

Sayers spent all seven years of his career in Chicago. Even in that short time, he was dominant.

The Kansas Comet was an All-Pro in each of his first five seasons (he only played two games in each of his last two seasons).

He led the league in rushing twice, and Sayers averaged 5 yards per carry for his career. Overall he finished with 4,956 rush yards and 39 touchdowns. Also, Sayers once scored six touchdown in one game.

Sayers actually led the league in rushing during the 1969 season just one year removed from tearing his ACL and MCL in his right knee. Unfortunately, he suffered a major injury in his left knee in 1970, and Sayers retired in 1971.

He was also a great return man. He had seven return TDs (five kick, two punt), while he averaged 30 yards a kick return and 14.5 yards per punt return.

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