2 minute read

Dick Butkus

Butkus Legacy

While other linebackers such as Lawrence Taylor of the New York Giants and Jack Lambert of the Pittsburgh Steelers have been dominant in their eras, Butkus is still the measuring stick at that position. Promising players are described as "a high school Butkus," "a Canadian Butkus," "an Ivy League Butkus."

Butkus and his wife, Helen, live in Malibu, California. They have three children: Rick, Mathew and Nikki. He still does television commercials and small movie parts, often reflecting his "tough-guy" persona, and manages the Dick Butkus Football Network, a Web site. He also announced for the National Broadcasting Corporation during its XFL telecasts. That league folded after one season, in the winter of 2002.

Career Statistics

Yr Team FR INT TD
CHI: Chicago Bears.
1965 CHI 6 5 0
1966 CHI 3 1 0
1967 CHI 3 1 0
1968 CHI 1 3 0
1969 CHI 2 2 0
1970 CHI 2 3 0
1971 CHI 3 4 0
1972 CHI 4 2 0
1973 CHI 1 1 1
TOTAL 25 22 1

Awards and Accomplishments

1963 Silver Football Award as Big Ten Conference Most Valuable Player after leading Illinois to conference championship
1963-64 College All-America at linebacker position while playing for University of Illinois; all Big-Ten selection as linebacker and center
1964 Selected National Football Player of the Year by National Football Coaches Association
1965 Selected NFL Rookie of the Year
1971 In rare offensive play, caught leaping pass for winning extra point as Bears defeated Washington Redskins, 16-15
1979 Selected to Pro Football Hall of Fame
1983 Selected to College Football Hall of Fame
1985 Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando establishes Butkus Award for nation's top college football linebacker
1986 University of Illinois retires his jersey number (50)
1994 Chicago Bears retire his jersey number (51)
1995 Selected to Rose Bowl Hall of Fame

"I want to be recognized as the best—no doubt about it," Butkus once said. "When they say all-pro middle linebacker, I want them to mean Butkus!" Still, Butkus, for all his talents, might have trouble in today's NFL, which often fines and suspends players for extreme hits. "Headhunting is declasse in the NFL these days," Charles Bricker wrote in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Miami Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas said he grew up enjoying Butkus on television, but added, "Nowadays, the NFL doesn't want to show that. They just want to show all the touchdowns."

Additional topics

Famous Sports StarsFootballDick Butkus Biography - Yearned For Football Career, All-american At Illinois, Ferocious Fixture For Bears, Chronology - SELECTED WRITINGS BY BUTKUS: