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.

Position H Back
Height / weight 1.83 m / 89 kg
Born 30 Mar 1943
Death 23 Sep 2020 (77 years)
Nationality United States United States
Nickname The Kansas Comet
Team History
Chicago Bears Chicago Bears 1965 - 1971

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.

In 1970, he suffered several injuries, attempted a couple of comebacks but ultimately decided to retire. The last game he played was during the 1972 preseason.

Retirement, Later Life, and Legacy

After retiring from the NFL, Sayers worked as an Administrator for the University of Kansas. He would also later be named the Athletic Director for the Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Sayers later founded a company that would come to be known as Sayers 40, Inc.

He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1977. In the same year, he was also inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was then and still is the youngest inductee in the Hall of Fame’s history. The Bears retired Jersey No.40 and the Jayhawks retired No.48.

Sayers was also named to the All-Time Team for the NFL’s 50th, 75th, and 100th anniversaries.

Team History (Administrator)

  • 1976-1981 - Southern IllinoisUniversity Carbondale, Salukis
  • 1985-1986 - Tennessee StateUniversity, Tigers and Lady Tigers

Career Highlights and Awards

  • 1963, 1964 - Consensus All-American
  • 1962–1964 - All-Big Eight
  • 1965 - NFL Offensive Rookie of theYear
  • 1965–1969 - First-team All-Pro
  • 1965–1967, 1969 - Pro Bowl
  • 1966, 1969 - NFL rushing yardsleader
  • 1969 - NFL Comeback Player of theYear
  • NFL 1960s - All-Decade Team
  • NFL 50th Anniversary - All-Time Team
  • NFL 75th Anniversary - All-Time Team
  • NFL 100th Anniversary - All-TimeTeam
  • Chicago Bears No. 40 retired
  • Kansas Jayhawks No. 48 retired

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