Saul "Solly" Sherman, who had been the oldest living former Bears player, passed away Sunday at 93.
Sherman, a lifelong Chicagoan who grew up on the West Side, attended Marshall High School and played at the University of Chicago for Clark Shaughnessy.
George Halas drafted Sherman in 1939 in part because he was familiar with the T-formation that Shaughnessy had pioneered.
Sherman played two seasons for the Bears as a quarterback and defensive back. He played in the 1940 Pro Bowl and completed a two point conversion pass in the Bears' 73-0 victory over the Redskins in the championship game that year.
The play came at the end of the game and Sherman's grandson Ariel Litvin said the official told Sherman he was down to his last football, so Sherman couldn't kick the extra point and risk losing the ball in the stands. Sherman used to joke that the referee told him it would cost him $3.50 — the cost of a football — if he kicked the extra point instead of going for the conversion.
Sherman was the backup to Sid Luckman, and the pair may have been the only Jewish quarterback tandem in NFL history.
Sherman helped teach Luckman the T-formation, and the two remained close until Luckman's death in 1998. In fact, Litvin said the two would go for manicures together until shortly before Luckman's death, and Luckman always would pay.
After Sherman's second season with the Bears, he received a draft notice. But Sherman didn't qualify for the military because of knee problem that resulted from a baseball injury that occurred during college.
Wanting to help the war effort, Sherman joined the family business — a company that made and sold machine tools. He eventually took over the business, Allied Products, which at one point was designated a Fortune 500 company.
He was a member of the Standard Club for 55 years and a 12-time paddleball champion, Litvin said. He won his last championship at the age of 60.
Litvin said Sherman was a founding member of Briarwood Country Club. He also was a civil rights activist who marched with Martin Luther King Jr.
Sherman remained an avid Bears fan and season ticket holder until his death.
He is survived by a son John Sherman and a daughter Katherine Sherman, as well as four grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
Services will be private.
This man lived quite a long time and saw plenty of Bear greats. It's unfortunate the Bears haven't won more than one Super Bowl.