Gale Sayers was a professional football player. He played for the Chicago Bears in the National Football League (NFL) from 1965 to 1971. After his professional career, he served as administrator for the Southern Illinois University Carbondale and also for the Tennessee State University.
Sayers attended and played college football for the University of Kansas.
The Jayhawks retired Jersey No.48 in his honor. The Bears did the same thing for Jersey No.40. Sayers was drafted into the NFL in 1965. He played in the Pro Bowl three times and was named to the First-Team All-Pro, four times.
Athlete Bio and Personal Life
Sayers was born Gale Eugene Sayers on March 30, 1943, in Wichita, Kansas. The family would later move to Speed, Kansas. They would eventually settle in Nebraska. His parents were Bernice and Earl Sayers. He has a brother named Ron Sayers who played for the American Football League (AFL). Gale himself was offered to play for the AFL and was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs. He turned down the Chiefs in favor of the Bears.
Gale stands 183 cm tall and his listed weight during his active career was 89 kg. He played halfback as well as running back. Nicknamed, The Kansas Comet, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1977.
He was close friends with fellow Bears player Brian Piccolo and he was by Brian’s side as he fought cancer. Their relationship was portrayed in the movie – Brian’s Song.
Early Career and the NFL and AFL Drafts
Sayers attended the University of Kansas and played college football for the Kansas Jayhawks. He had initially intended to attend the University of Iowa but he turned them down. While with Kansas, he was named to the College Football All-America Team twice.
In 1965, he was drafted into both the NFL and the AFL. He chose to go with the Chicago Bears instead of the Kansas City Chiefs. The contract with the Chiefs would have given him more money, but at that time, the NFL was more established than the AFL. While with the Bears, he played under the coaching of George Halas. He was drafted into the NFL in the first round. He was the fourth overall pick.
The NFL with the Bears
In his rookie year with the Bears, Sayers was awarded the 1965 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award. He was also named to the First-Team All-Pro and he made it to the Pro Bowl. By his second season, he had become a reliable player for the Bears. In 1966, he received the first of two Rushing Titles.
He suffered a knee injury in 1968 that had him out in need of rehabilitation and recovery for the rest of the season. In 1969, he was awarded the NFL Comeback of the Year Award by the United Press International after he successfully led in rushing again.