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Gale Sayers

Born In Wichita, Kansas

He was born Gale Eugene Sayers in Wichita, Kansas, on May 30, 1943. The second of three sons of Roger Winfield (an auto mechanic and car polisher) and Bernice (Ross) Sayers (a homemaker), Sayers owes his first name to his mother who was hoping her second child would be a girl she planned to name Gail. When she had a son instead, the name was retained but with a spelling modification. Sayers's father worked as a mechanic for the Goodyear Corporation in Wichita but in 1950 moved the family to his ailing father's wheat farm in Speed, Kansas. When Sayers's grandfather died in 1951, the family moved to Omaha, Nebraska, where Sayers spent the remainder of his childhood. As a boy he showed a natural athletic ability and became involved in a number of sports both in and out of school.

Sayers began playing football in a midget football league soon after his arrival in Omaha, but his interest in the game really began to blossom during his years at Omaha's Central High School, where he played middle linebacker on the school's varsity team. In his senior year at Central, Sayers was named to both the All-Mid-westerm and All-American high school team. He also became a standout star in track and field, winning three gold medals in area competition. But football clearly was Sayers's first passion, and he was courted by dozens of top colleges interested in his gridiron skills. In the end, he decided to return to his native Kansas to play halfback for the University of Kansas Jayhawks. Before heading off to college, Sayers became engaged to his high school sweetheart, Linda Lou McNeil.

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