Greatest Chicago Bears "Grabowskis" from the past.

Discussion in 'Front Page News' started by JustAnotherBearsFan99, Aug 11, 2014.

  1. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    ßearz ßuckz:
    "There are teams that are fair-haired, and those that aren't so fair-haired.
    Some teams are named Smith, some Grabowski.
    We're Grabowskis."

    -Mike Ditka, January 1986
    I read a post today from Soulman that mentioned Ditka's "Grabowski" description of players here in Chicago. It got me to thinking back and remembering some of the great blue-collar Bears from the past. Guys who may not have had much God-given raw talent, but they were men who put their heart and soul into every snap, every play for the Chicago Bears. These players made the Bears a better team even though they had modest natural talent. They were not the blue-blood divas, or Heisman winners or 1st round draft picks. These were the no-name guys who just busted their butts to help win games.

    They made a difference.

    I'd like to start a series of player career bios on some of these men. I'm hoping for your help in this effort. All of you probably have a favorite, or a couple of favorite blue-collar, lunch box type Bears players that would fit this catagory of "Grabowskis" and worth remembering here in the news section of If so, then would you post some of them here in this thread, and I'll put together a Bears biogrophy on them. We'll continue the series as long as we have players to write about. It just seems fitting to honor these men on the Dabears web site. Many of the younger fans may not even know who they are. It would be cool to remember these players here. Thanks in advance for your help.

    - Dave

    p.s. I'll kick this off tomorrow, with a bio on one of my favorite "Grabowskis" Matt Suhey. I loved watching that guy play. Walter Payton was the star, but Matt was the guy who often did the grunt work for him.

    #1 JustAnotherBearsFan99, Aug 11, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 11, 2014
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  2. Bearstuff

    Bearstuff Yes, in the woods.
    Staff Member

    Feb 17, 2006
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    ßearz ßuckz:
    Bloody Mary
    McMichael, Fencik, Hilgenberg, Kreutz, Mannelly, Butthead, Buffone, Petitbon, Mike Brown

    That should keep you busy for a while. :)
  3. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    ßearz ßuckz:

    That's a great list. Hilgenberg in particular stands out there. The guy wasn't even drafted. The Bears sign him as an undrafted player and he goes on to 7 Pro Bowls, and is All Pro 7 times. I still like to watch him pulling and blocking in the old games I have on DVD. I will DEFINITELY do a piece on him for my second in the series. You guys are going to work me to death on this :-)
    That entire list is great.....thank you.
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  4. Blue Horse-shoe

    Blue Horse-shoe Pro-Bowler

    Aug 3, 2013
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    Mike Hartenstine
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  5. soulman

    soulman Coordinator
    DBS Writer

    Oct 14, 2004
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    Bloody MaryBig MacBananaApple
    One of mine would be "Mongo" McMichael. He came out of the University of Texas as a 6'2" 250lb DT selected in the middle rounds by the Pats in the 1980 draft. He came to the Bears as a Free Agent in 1981 and began a string of 101 straight starts as their left DT or what's now called the 3 Tech DT position.

    He played for the Bears through the 1993 season and then finished his career playing just one season as a reserve for the dreaded yellow pants mainly because they were willing to pay him a million dollars to do it. A mil was a lot of money in 1994 so I'm not gonna hold that against him especially since he said in his book that he only did it for the money and refused to give up any inside poop on the Bears while he was there. To me Mongo is still a "Bear for Life".

    Because of playing with HOF teammates like Dan Hampton and Richard Dent, and a much loved character like "Fridge", I felt McMichael never got the recognition he deserved as being one of the very best DTs to ever play the game. It's a shame he's not given HOF type recognition too but I doubt that bothers him much "lunch bucket" player that he was. He led the Bears with 11 1/2 sacks in 1988 and in tackles in 1989 with 108 which is a truly stupefying number for a DT. Contrast those to Henry Melton's 2012 Pro Bowl season when he had just 36 tackles and six sacks. Mongo finished his career with 95 sacks which I believe puts him third on the all time list for DTs.

    He went on to be a part of Pro Wrestling for a few years following his retirement from the NFL but I'll let you read about that side show here in Wikipedia. It's pretty amusing.

    He's continued to be active in pro football as the HC of the IFL Chicago Slaughter and the co-host of a Chicago Bear pregame show.

    In 2010 he was inducted into the College Football HOF (should get Pro HOF recognition too)

    In 2102 he lost a an election bid to become the mayor of Romeville, Il.

    Now two of my favorite "Mongo" stories;

    In 2001 as a guest at a Cubbies game there to sing "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" he took exception to what he thought was a lousy call by home plate umpire Angel Hernandez and threatened to meet him in the parking lot after the game thereby becoming the first and only non-player or manager to ever be ejected from a Cubs game. :bah: Actually Hernandez has made so many bad calls during his career there oughta be a line of people waiting to meet him in the parking lot with McMichael selling tickets and assigning priorities.

    But my all time favorite comes from way back in 1981, his rookie year with the Bears. In training camp one of the vet OGs came up to him in the rookie locker room intending to intimidate him. He poked him in the chest and said, "I'm gonna hurt you out there all day rookie". McMichael just smirked at him then picked up his helmet and began bashing himself in the nose and forehead with it until he bled. Then he stared straight at the vet blood dripping down onto the locker room floor and said; "How do you figure you're gonna do that"? :rofl: I think that was the last time anybody ever wasted their time trying to intimidate him.

    His Texas rattlesnake hunts were legendary too but I'll let you all read Jim McMahon's description of those in his book.

    Caption: "Howdy Eric. Nice day for a game huh"?

    McMichael's NFL Career Stats;
    (Just a little side note here because before the draft many were saying that Aaron Donald was on the small side to play DT in the NFL yet "Mongo" played his entire career weighing between 270-280lbs. 3 Tech DTs aren't big guys)

    Steve McMichael
    Height: 6-2 Weight[​IMG]: 270 Age: 56
    Born: 10/17/1957 Houston , TX
    College: Texas
    Experience: 15 Seasons

    Career Stats​

    SeasonTeam TacklesInterceptionsFumbles
    1994Green Bay Packers1614------2.5-- ----0.0---- 
    1993Chicago Bears1616------6.0-- 1 0.0   
    1992Chicago Bears1616------10.5-- ----0.0---- 
    1991Chicago Bears1616------9.0-- ----0.0---- 
    1990Chicago Bears16--------4.0-- ----0.0---- 
    1989Chicago Bears16--------7.5-- ----0.0---- 
    1988Chicago Bears16--------11.51 ----0.0---- 
    1987Chicago Bears12--------7.0-- ----0.0---- 
    1986Chicago Bears16--------8.01 155.05  
    1985Chicago Bears16--------8.01 ----0.0---- 
    1984Chicago Bears16--------10.0-- ----0.0---- 
    1983Chicago Bears16--------8.5-- ----0.0---- 
    1982Chicago Bears9--------2.5-- ----0.0---- 
    1981Chicago Bears10------------------0.0------
    1980New England Patriots6------------------0.0------
    TOTAL   95.03 25--5  
    #5 soulman, Aug 12, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2014
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  6. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    ßearz ßuckz:
    I can already see that we're going to have a lot of fun with this "Grabowski" project :-)
    Thanks, Soul, for the McMichael piece. Good stuff!!!
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