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Dick Butkus Biography

Yearned For Football Career, All-american At Illinois, Ferocious Fixture For Bears, ChronologySELECTED WRITINGS BY BUTKUS:


American football player

Dick Butkus, in his nine seasons as a linebacker for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League (NFL), came to epitomize his position, team and community. His on-field meanness and loyalty to his team and native city reflected football of the 1960s. Butkus was elected to the pro and college football Halls of Fame, and the award for the top college linebacker in the United States bears his name. High school and college linebacking standouts are known to wear Butkus's pro number (51), which the Bears retired.

"More than a quarter of a century after his retirement, there remains the Butkus image: the middle linebacker wrapping up a running back and viciously slamming him to the ground like an unwanted toy," Larry Schwartz wrote on the ESPN Classic web site. "If I had a choice," said MacArthur Lane, a running back for the rival Green Bay Packers, "I'd rather go one-on-one with a grizzly bear. I pray that I can get up every time Butkus hits me."


(With Bob Billings) Inside Defensive Football, Regnery, 1971.

(With Robert W. Billings) Stop-Action Dutton, 1972.

(With Pat Smith) Butkus: Flesh and Blood, Doubleday, 1997.

Sketch by Paul Burton

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Famous Sports StarsFootball