Casares, Bears' third-leading rusher, dies at 82

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by The Benjamin, Sep 15, 2013.

  1. The Benjamin

    The Benjamin George Halas
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    Oct 16, 2006
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    Bears fullback Rick Casares, No. 35, circa 1960. (Chicago Tribune / March 12, 2013)

    By Rich Campbell, Tribune reporter
    8:54 p.m. CDT, September 14, 2013

    Former Bears running back Rick Casares died Friday at his Florida home, the Tampa Tribune reported. He was 82. Casares was a member of the Bears’ 1963 NFL championship team, which coincidentally is being honored at halftime of Sunday’s game against the Vikings at Soldier Field.

    Casares, who played for the Bears from 1955-64, led the NFL in rushing in 1956. He played in five Pro Bowls.

    He was the Bears’ all-time leading rusher with 5,657 yards until Walter Payton surpassed him in 1979. He still is the third-leading rusher in club history.

    “He was he toughest guy I ever played with,” former Bears tight end and coach Mike Ditka told the Tampa Tribune. “I remember him playing on a broken ankle. On the field, he was all business. Off the field, he was a real sweetheart.’’

    Casares fondly remembered his playing career during an interview with the Chicago Tribune in 2010 upon his induction into the Italian American Sports Hall of Fame.

    “The best years of my life were in Chicago,” he said. “I loved being there and playing for the Bears from the first day I got there.”

    The Bears drafted Casares in the second round in 1954. He told the Chicago Tribune in 2010 that he believed he could have run for 10,000 yards if owner/coach George Halas had not changed the offensive scheme in 1961 and traded quarterback Ed Brown.

    Casares didn’t like the changes and he told legendary Bears beat reporter Ed Stone, then of the Chicago American, of his dissatisfaction. Stone said it was the first time anyone remembered an active player publicly criticizing Halas.

    Casares retired to Tampa, Fla., where he liked to fish. He was remembered for his prolific career at Jefferson High School and the University of Florida. He was named in 2007 to the Florida High School Athletic Association’s All-Century Team.

    Football took a major toll on his body. He had two knee replacements, an ankle replacement and a shoulder replacement. He also had wrist and rib surgeries. He estimated he suffered six severe concussions and told the Chicago Tribune this year that he was starting to get forgetful.

    He died peacefully, drifting off to sleep in his den, his wife, Polly, told the Tampa Tribune. He reportedly wanted to attend Sunday’s ceremony at Soldier Field but did not feel well enough to make the trip.,0,6642085.story
  2. Tarkus

    Tarkus Veteran

    Aug 18, 2013
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  3. Bearstuff

    Bearstuff Yes, in the woods.
    Staff Member

    Feb 17, 2006
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    Thanks Tarkus.

    I've got two of his football cards. Great player.
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  4. WearyBear

    WearyBear Rookie

    Aug 18, 2013
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    Great video. Thanks.
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