Former Chicago Bears running back Gale Sayers died Wednesday at the age of 77.
Sayers is known for being one of the best running backs ever in a career cut short due to knee injuries. The news of his death was shocking.
“All those who love the game of football mourn the loss of one of the greatest to ever play this game with the passing of Chicago Bears legend Gale Sayers,” Hall of Fame president and CEO David Baker said in a statement. “He was the very essence of a team player — quiet, unassuming and always ready to compliment a teammate for a key block. Gale was an extraordinary man who overcame a great deal of adversity during his NFL career and life.”
Sayers, who was known as the Kansas Comet, rushed for 4,956 yards and 39 touchdowns from 1965-1971. He also scored six touchdowns in one game and was one of the most feared men on the football field before his knee injuries.
After his retirement in 1971, Sawyer worked in the athletics department of his alma mater Kansas University before being named athletic director at Southern Illinois. He also served as interim athletic director at Tennessee State University from 1985 to 1986.
Sayers suffered from dementia in his later years and, according to his wife, Ardie, his football career was a major cause of the illness.
Sayers was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.