The football world is mourning the loss of Gale Sayers, the longtime Chicago Bears running back and fan favorite.
Sayers, 77, died from dementia. Nicknamed the “Kansas City Comet,” Sayers dominated the NFL for seven seasons and served as a household name for Chicago Bears fans for decades.
Both during and after his playing days ended, Sayers used his charisma and sizable net worth to enhance the lives of others.
Gale Sayers passed away at 77
A tough year for the football world got even worse when Gale Sayers’ death was announced on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020.
David Baker, the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s president and CEO, mourned Sayers — a 1977 inductee — in a press release.
“He was the very essence of a team player — quiet, unassuming and always ready to compliment a teammate for a key block. Gale was an extraordinary man who overcame a great deal of adversity during his NFL career and life.”
NFL Media’s Andrew Siciliano called Sayers, “one of the most electric players the game has ever seen.”
Veteran NFL writer Dan Pompei eulogized Sayers on Twitter.
“Gale Sayers’ light never was intended to burn long,” Pompei wrote. “It was intended to burn brightest, and it did. Rest in Peace to a legendary football player, philanthropist, and believer.”
NFL Films tweeted a scouting report that Steve Sabol, the company’s founder, did on Payton. The account highlighted one specific quote.
“Trying to tackle Gale Sayers was like trying to catch a candy wrapper in a wind storm.”
The Bears, nor Sayers’ family, didn’t announce any funeral plans at publication.
Sayers is an NFL legend
Despite only playing seven seasons, Gale Sayers retired as one of the greatest running backs in NFL history.
Sayers scored 20 touchdowns from scrimmage as a rookie in 1965 — six coming in one game — and totaled 867 rushing yards. A year later, Sayers ran for 1,231 yards and added 447 receiving yards for a career-high 1,678 yards from scrimmage.
From 1965-69, Sayers ran for 4,866 yards and 39 touchdowns on 5.1 yards per carry. He also turned 111 passes into 1,313 yards and nine touchdowns. Sayers also scored six touchdowns on kick returns and another two on punt returns.
Knee injuries limited Sayers’ effectiveness and he retired during the 1972 preseason.
Gale Sayers scored touchdowns and enhanced the lives of others
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Gale Sayers famously had a notable friendship with Brian Piccolo, his Bears teammate from 1965-69.
Sayers and Piccolo were the first interracial roommates in the NFL. Piccolo died from cancer in June 1970. A year later, their relationship became a made-for-TV movie, Brian’s Song.
Sayers’ net worth in retirement was valued at $50 million. That didn’t stop him from frequently attending charity events and working with the Boys & Girls Club of America.
The BGC even named Sayers to its alumni Hall of Fame.
Sayers was also involved with the Gale Sayers Foundation, an Illinois-based charity which focused on “investing in next generation classroom technology at undeserved Chicago public schools.”