Marshall is perhaps best known as a significant member of two Super Bowl championship teams, the 1985 Bears and the 1991 Redskins. In 1985, the Bears, behind one of the most celebrated defenses in league history, finished the regular season 15–1, shut out both opponents in the playoffs, and beat the New England Patriots 46–10 in Super Bowl XX. In a 37–17 week 16 victory over the Detroit Lions, Marshall delivered a stunning hit on Lions' quarterback Joe Ferguson that left Ferguson flat on his back, knocked out cold. But perhaps Marshall's most memorable moment came in the 1985 NFC Championship Game, against the Los Angeles Rams. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, snow began to fall at Soldier Field, eliciting loud applause from the Bears fans in attendance. On the next play, Bears defensive end Richard Dent sacked Rams quarterback Dieter Brock, causing Brock to fumble the football. Marshall picked up the loose football and, alongside William Perry, ran 52 yards through the falling snow. The Bears beat the Rams 24–0, and Marshall's fumble return for touchdown continues to be the highlight from that game most replayed. Fox News Chicago also named that play to be the most iconic moment of the game, and of the season, as well. He also had a good performance in the Super Bowl, recording a sack and recovering a fumble. In 1986, Marshall recorded five interceptions and 5.5 sacks and was named First-team All-Pro for the first time.
The Chicago Bears drafted Kreutz in the third round of the 1998 NFL Draft. Over his twelve year career, Kreutz has been selected to six Pro Bowls, and was one of the team's most consistent offensive linemen. In an incident eerily reminiscent of his college days, Kreutz drew controversy during the 2005 NFL season after breaking the jaw of fellow offensive lineman Fred Miller during an off-practice outing. The NFL fined both players $50,000. On October 2006, Kreutz was signed to a three year contract extension through the 2010 season. In 2007, Kreutz was appointed as one of the team's captains.In 2011, Kreutz chose to end his career with the Chicago Bears after turning down an offer of $4 million for one year. Kreutz was the longest tenured Bears members at the time he left the organization.
Bill Hewitt is most often remembered for his stubborn refusal to wear a helmet. He finally donned headgear in his final NFL season but only because new NFL rules left him no choice. While an interesting sidelight, this should not overshadow the fact that Hewitt was one of the finest two-way ends ever to play football at any level. Bill was a terror on offense but absolutely peerless on defense. An "iron-man" performer who averaged more than 50 minutes playing time each game, Hewitt had a zest for competition and a record for making the biggest plays in the toughest situations. He was always conjuring up new gimmicks to foil the opposition.
One of his special plays called for a jump pass from fullback Bronko Nagurski. Hewitt would in turn lateral to another end, Bill Karr, racing toward the goal line. It was this play that gave the Bears a victory in the NFL's first championship game in 1933, a 23-21 win over the New York Giants.
On defense, Hewitt became the first player to make the masses take their eyes off the football just to watch him stymie the opponent. Because he had a jet-propulsion start at the snap of the ball, the fans tabbed him "The Offside Kid," because they couldn't fathom anyone reacting so quickly without being offside.
Equally impressive was his tackling and his uncanny knack of diagnosing enemy plays. Hewitt was the first to admit he wasn't much of a player either in high school or at the University of Michigan. Once he reached the NFL, it was a different story. He was named all-league as a rookie by one major publication and repeated the honor in 1933, 1934,1936,1937, and 1938. The last two times he was selected as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Briggs was a third round draft pick (68th overall) by the Chicago Bears in the 2003 NFL Draft. In 2004, he made 126 tackles and was elected as a second alternate to the Pro Bowl. In 2005, Briggs was selected to represent the National Football Conference in the 2006 Pro Bowl. However, Briggs drew controversy when he refused to attended the Bears' summer camp, resulting in a temporary demotion.He finished the 2006 Chicago Bears season as a clutch performer on the Bears' defense. Briggs was selected to play in the 2007 Pro Bowl, but opted to defer the invitation because of an injured foot. He became a free agent following the 2007 playoffs, leaving his future with the Bears in the air. Despite Briggs’ high price tag, commentary from NFL on Fox revealed Brian Urlacher was willing to take a pay-cut in order to keep Briggs on the team. On February 16, 2007, the Bears officially placed the franchise tag on him, which guarantees him a one-year contract for the 2007 NFL season at slightly more than $7.2 million dollars. Lance Briggs in November 2009On the morning of March 3, 2007, Briggs was featured on the Mike North Morning Show, and stated he was upset with the amount of money he was currently earning. Briggs later stated he enjoys his teammates, coaches and fans, but was fed up with the organization. He later went on to state he no longer wanted to be a Bear, and demanded a trade. Briggs also made his unhappiness known in a March 2007 interview with a Chicago radio station in which he said "I'll do everything that's within my power to not be with this organization." On March 12, 2007 Briggs announced he no longer considers himself a member of the Chicago Bears. During a cell phone interview with Foxsports.com Briggs said "I am now prepared to sit out the year if the Bears don't trade me or release me, I've played my last snap for them. I'll never play another down for Chicago again." In explaining his demands, he said "The Bears have shown I'm not in their long-term plans so if that's the case, I don't want to be here." A report from Fox Sports on March 27 claimed that the Washington Redskins allegedly offered the Bears their first round pick in exchange for Briggs and the Bears' own first round pick. On March 28, Bears general manager Jerry Angelo confirmed that the Redskins have made a trade offer and stated, "We'll evaluate if that's good for us and get back to them". Angelo deferred the offer on April 3, but later stated they were interested in negotiating a deal the following day. The Bears then proposed a trade with the Redskins which included linebacker Rocky McIntosh as well as the Redskins first-round pick in exchange for Briggs. Briggs did not attend the team's first meeting after their Super Bowl XLI loss, or their mandatory mini camp session in May 2007. Briggs and Charles Tillman pursue Seattle Seahawks receiver Nate Burleson in a game in 2009.Despite this, on March 1, 2008, the Bears re-signed Briggs to a six-year, $36 million contract; he remained a Chicago Bear.On September 2, 2011 Briggs and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, formally asked the Bears organization for a trade, with three years left on his six-year contract. The request came after Briggs asked the Bears for a raise. On April 11, 2012, Briggs was given a 1-year extension, increasing his contract through 2014.
The Chicago Bears selected Urlacher in the first round (ninth pick overall) of the 2000 NFL Draft. He was considered one of the most talented collegiate prospects in the 2000 Draft. He impressed spectators and analysts at the NFL Combine by bench pressing 225 pounds twenty-seven times, and completing the forty-yard dash in 4.57 seconds. The Chicago Bears, who were in need of a defensive playmaker, selected Urlacher in the first round, as the draft's ninth overall pick. He signed a five-year contract, which was worth nearly eight million dollars with a five and a half million dollar signing bonus, within two months of the draft. Dick Jauron, who was then the Bears' head coach, recognized Urlacher's versatility as a middle and outside linebacker, and appointed him as the team's starting strongside linebacker. However, Urlacher struggled to perform consistently in his first professional game, and lost his starting position to Rosevelt Colvin. Jauron left Urlacher on the sidelines during the following week, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers shut out the Bears, 41–0. He managed to regain a starting spot on the Bears' roster, after Barry Minter, the team's veteran middle linebacker, was forced to miss the Week 3 game on account of an injury. Urlacher excelled at the middle linebacker position, and recorded 46 tackles, six sacks, and one interception in his next five starts. Not even a rib cage injury hindered his performance during this period, as Urlacher went on to win the league's Rookie Defensive Player of the Month in October. He led the Bears with 124 tackles and eight sacks, both of which surpassed the franchise's previous rookie records. Although the Bears finished with a disappointing 5–11 record, Urlacher received a number of individual accolades for his performance during the season. Many news organizations, such as the Associated Press and The Sporting News named him as the 2000 Defensive Rookie of the Year. Football fans across the nation also voted Urlacher to play at the 2001 Pro Bowl as an alternate middle linebacker. Urlacher's successful rookie campaign served as the foundation for his professional career and reputation. Urlacher further distinguished himself as one of the Bears' most productive playmakers during the 2001 season. He had one of the best games of his career on October 7, against the Atlanta Falcons. Urlacher held Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, who was well known for his scrambling abilities, to 18 rushing yards, and recorded a forced fumble and sack. He also returned one of Vick's fumbles for a 90-yard touchdown. Two weeks later, Urlacher helped set up a Bears comeback victory against the San Francisco 49ers by intercepting a pass, and later setting up a game winning touchdown return for Mike Brown, after causing 49ers wide receiver Terrell Owens to lose control of a pass. He also caught a touchdown pass from punter Brad Maynard off a fake field goal attempt against the Washington Redskins in Week 14, which clinched a first-round bye. Urlacher concluded the season with three interceptions, six sacks, and was a candidate for 2001 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award. Football Digest named Urlacher their publication's defensive player of the year. The 2001 Chicago Bears won 13 games, marking the team's best finish since 1986, but lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Divisional Playoffs. Unfortunately, the Bears’ 2001 winning season would be followed by three years of mediocrity. Before the 2004 NFL season, the Bears’ organization fired coach Dick Jauron and then hired Lovie Smith. After starting the season on the lower rungs of the NFC North, Urlacher suffered several injuries that sidelined him for a majority of the season.
In 2005, Urlacher won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year after playing for a defensive team that allowed the fewest points per game, and created the most turnovers in the National Football Conference. Urlacher himself recorded at least 10 tackles in six consecutive games, while finishing the season with a team high 121 tackles. He was also credited as one of the team's leaders, whose audibles and experience helped develop several younger teammates. Urlacher led the Bears to an 11-5 record, marking their best finish since 2001. Urlacher played his second career playoff game against the Carolina Panthers during the on January 15, 2006. He recorded seven tackles and one interception in a 29–21 loss. Urlacher was also selected to the 2006 Pro Bowl, but declined the position on account of an injury. The team continued their resurgence into the 2006 season, finishing with a record of 13–3. During the season, Urlacher had one of the best performances of his professional career against the Arizona Cardinals. He helped the Bears overcome a 20-point deficit by recording 25 tackles and a forced fumble that was returned for a touchdown. Teammate Devin Hester commented on Urlacher's performance, stating, "We watched the film and everybody was saying that he just turned into the Incredible Hulk the last four minutes of the game, just killing people and running over and tackling whoever had the ball." The Bears won the NFC Championship against the New Orleans Saints, 39–14, but lost Super Bowl XLI to the Indianapolis Colts, 29–17. Urlacher finished the season with 93 tackles and three forced fumbles. He was elected to the 2006 All-Pro Team and 2007 Pro Bowl, while also earning consideration for the League's Defensive Player of the Year award. The Bears were unable to replicate their success in the 2007 season, and finished last in the NFC North. In the middle of the season, Urlacher admitted that he had been suffering from an arthritic back, but later claimed the ailment was not serious. Nevertheless, he finished the season on a high note, registering five interceptions, five sacks, one fumble recovery, 123 tackles, and a defensive touchdown. Following the season's conclusion, Urlacher received minor neck surgery to treat his arthritic back. During the offseason, Urlacher revised his contract with the Bears, who granted him a $6-million signing bonus with a $1-million increase in salary each of the next four years. Urlacher dislocated his wrist in the 2009 season opener against the Packers. He underwent surgery, and went on to miss the remainder of the season. Urlacher had severely damaged a bone in his wrist that was adjacent to a major nerve. Urlacher was forced to wear a cast on his wrist for 12 weeks and spend a month in therapy to recover from the injury. The Bears began to struggle on offense and defense. As frustration built, Urlacher criticized the Bears offense, stating that the addition of quarterback Jay Cutler had changed the team's identity. The Bears, who have historically employed a strong running game, were beginning to rely more on the pass on offense. He went on to say, "Kyle Orton might not be the flashiest quarterback, but the guy is a winner, and that formula worked for us. I hate to say it, but that's the truth." Urlacher and Cutler later made amends. The Bears finished the season with a 7–9 record, and missed the playoffs for the third consecutive year.After recovering from the injury, Urlacher stated, "I feel more powerful. I’m running to the football, my keys are a lot more clear now, and I’m playing downhill... So I think it did help my body kind of calm down and relax a little bit. " During the 2010 offseason, Bears general manager Jerry Angelo bolstered the team's defense by signing free agent Julius Peppers. With Peppers' help, Urlacher and the Bears improved to an 11–5 record in the 2010 NFL season, winning the NFC North and earning a first-round bye for the 2011 Playoffs. After leading the NFC in tackles during the period, Urlacher was recognized as the NFC Defensive Player of the Month during December/January. It was the first time winning the award in his career. Urlacher was also voted to his seventh Pro Bowl for his stellar defensive efforts during the year.In 2011 in Week 17 against the Minnesota Vikings, Urlacher sprained his MCL when teammate Major Wright and Vikings receiver Percy Harvin landed on him with 5:15 left in the game. Luckily for him, there was no ACL damage, according to his MRI. Urlacher was eventually named to the Pro Bowl, but didn't play due to the injury against Minnesota.In 2012, Urlacher was awarded the Ed Block Courage Award, given to those who showed a commitment to sportsmanship and courage. During his award acceptance speech, Urlacher thanked the Bears for their support after his mother Lavoyda Lenard died.
Nick Roach went undrafted in 2007 and was signed by the Chicago Bears after being cut from the Chargers. That season, he played in only 3 games, starting none. In 2008 he saw increased playing time, starting nine games and tallying 28 solo tackles in addition to nine assists. 2009 saw Roach make his biggest impact yet on defense, starting 15 games for the Bears. He had 54 solo tackles, 28 assists, two sacks and three fumble recoveries.On March 6, 2011, Roach was a guest on Chalk Them Up Radio to review the Chicago Bears run to the NFC Championship Game.In 2012, Roach and Stephen Paea were awarded the Brian Piccolo Award.
Dan Neal (born August 30, 1949 in Corbin, Kentucky) is a former American Football player who played offensive line for eleven seasons between 1973 and 1983 for the Baltimore Colts and the Chicago Bears. Named offensive line coach in 2007 for Texas vs. The Nation Game. Directed an offensive line group to a 24-20 victory in Sun Bowl Stadium.Neal spent 11 years as a player, 15 years as a coach, overall 26 total years in the NFL. He served as team captain his Junior and Senior years at the University of Kentucky. Was then drafted in the 11th round by the Baltimore Colts in 1973 where he spent 2 seasons. He then played for the Chicago Bears from 1975-1983 blocking for Walter Payton. After breaking his back he began his coaching career with the Philadelphia Eagles where he coached Special teams in 1986-'87 and Offensive Line '88-91. He then followed Buddy Ryan To Arizona and was the Offensive Line Coach for the Cardinals 1994-'95. Coached under Mike Ditka as the Tight Ends Coach for the New Orleans Saints 1997-'99. (Only person to play and coach for Ditka). Went to the Tennessee Titans and was the Offensive Assistant in 2000. He ended his coaching career as the Tight Ends coach for Buffalo Bills 2001-'03. Neal was born August 30, 1949 in Corbin, Ky. He and his wife Barbara have 2 daughters Kelly and Tiffany.Dan now owns and operates Coach's Fitness Club. With locations in Louisville and Prospect Kentucky.
Trying to write an article about Dick Butkus and his impact on the Chicago Bears is difficult. Presenting his statistics to the reader in no way quantify the impact he had on the Bears, and his entire generation of football in the NFL.
This article is not a story like the rest on this site, and is not written in any proper news story format, as much as I strive to be professional on this site. I was born in 1971, so obviously started watching the Bears several years after Butkus retired. Much as I don't think a 20 year old now could truly appreciate Walter Payton without being able to see a full Payton game, I don't think there is any way I can truly appreciate the dominance I hear Dick Butkus wreaked on the football field without having seen a full Bears game with him at MLB myself.
Sure, I've see a thousand clips of Butkus nearly decapitating an opposing running back, quarterback, offensive lineman, receiver, ballboy, etc. But what I hear truly set Butkus apart was the absolute fear he put into his opponents. And I wasn't there to see it personally, to see him take away virtually every part of the field he could reach. So I'd instead like to share some comments from those that did play with him or see him play. Bears Linebacker Doug Buffone (1966-1979): "I always say to play professional football, you have to have a neanderthal gene. Dick had two." Green Bay Packer Running Back Paul Hornung: "Dick didn't just tackle you. He made just textbook tackles, but he didn't just tackle you. He engulfed you."
In a draft that also produced future NFL Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers, Butkus was Chicago's first selection in 1965, with the third pick overall. He was a far south side native of Chicago, and attended Chicago Vocational Academy, a school that would later be attended by Bears defensive tackle Chris Zorich.
After a consensus All American career at Illinois, who he led to a 1964 Rose Bowl victory and #3 ranking in the national standings, Butkus was selected by the Bears. He made an immediate impact on the Bear defense, and went to the Pro Bowl in his first eight seasons with the team.
By the early 1970's, Butkus' ruthless play began to have an effect on his own health, as he battled repeated and recurring knee problems. According to Detroit Lion tight end Charlie Sanders, the linebacker's reputation didn't help the situation. "It was known around the league that no one wanted to take Dick on directly, so there was a lot of chop-blocking and hits below the knees on him, which contributed to his demise."
The Chicago Bears' physician at the time was known around the locker room as "needles", dispensing cortisone and painkiller shots routinely, and Butkus felt his true knee condition was not being shared with the coaching staff and organization. "Back in those days, if you didn't play, you were in violation of your contract, no matter how hurt you were," Butkus said.
Prior to the 1973 season, the linebacker signed a huge-for-the-era $575,000, five year contract, but he couldn't play to earn any of the money. In his last games, according to writer William Nack, "Butkus was like a wounded water buffalo on the Serengeti, with a flock of hyenas circling him, picking off flesh.
So in 1974, unable to continue to play football, Butkus filed a lawsuit against the Bears, contending that the knee problems caused by the game wouldn't allow him to fulfill the terms of the contract he had signed. George Halas and the Bears vigerously defended the charges, but in 1976 the two sides settled for $600,000.
At this time, a bitter Butkus became depressed that the Chicago hero could no longer be associated with the team and city he loved. A family friend said "It broke his heart. This was his world, and he had it yanked out from under him."
But the rift between Butkus, Halas and the Bears eventually lessened somewhat. In 1979, upon the release of his autobiography, the legendary founder was visited by Butkus at one of his book signings. Halas signed Butkus' book "to the best football player I ever saw." Butkus would join the Bears' radio team in 1985, and in 1994 had his number 51 forever retired alongside his draftmate Gale Sayers.
Mike Singletary was a second-round draft pick of the Chicago Bears in the 1981 NFL Draft and the 38th player selected overall. The only college junior to be selected to the All-SWC Team of the 1970s, Singletary earned All-America honors in both his junior and senior years at Baylor, where he averaged 15 tackles per game and established a team record with 232 tackles in 1978. Singletary became a starter in the Bears lineup in the seventh game of his rookie season. In a game against the Kansas City Chiefs, his third as a starter, Singletary put on a remarkable defensive performance recording 10 tackles and forcing a fumble. A nearly unanimous all-rookie selection, Singletary went on to start 172 games for the Bears during his 12-year career, which is the second most in club history.
An intense player, Mike finished as the Bears’ first or second leading tackler each of his last 11 seasons. He amassed an impressive 1,488 career tackles, 885 of which were solo efforts. A constant force on defense, he missed playing just two games, both in 1986.
In a game against the Denver Broncos in 1990 he had a personal-best performance when he recorded 10 solo tackles and 10 assists. Selected to play in a team record 10 Pro Bowls, Singletary was All-Pro eight times, and All-NFC every year from 1983 until 1991.
The NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1985 and 1988, Mike was the cornerstone of the Bears’ innovative "46" defense. In 1985, he led a Bears defense that allowed fewer than 11 points per game, as the team posted an impressive 15-1 record. He had 13 tackles and a sack in the playoffs leading up to the Bears’ 46-10 defeat of the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX. The Bears’ league-leading defense held the Patriots to a record-low seven yards rushing, while the hard-charging Singletary contributed with two fumble recoveries.