Chicago Bears Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers died Wednesday. He was 77.
Sayers played 68 games in an injury-shortened career, entering the NFL as the fourth overall draft pick in 1965. He was the youngest Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee ever at age 34.
"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," said Hall of Fame CEO David Baker in a statement released Wednesday morning. "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, known as the "Kansas Comet," scored six touchdowns in a game as a rookie for George Halas and the Bears. He also scored four touchdowns, including a 96-yard kickoff return, against the Minnesota Vikings in just his fifth NFL game.
Halas introduced Sayers for induction in the Canton, Ohio ceremony and famously said during that speech, "If you wish to see perfection as a running back, you had best get a hold of a film of Gale Sayers. He was poetry in motion. His like will never be seen again."
In his career, Sayers compiled 9,435 combined net yards on returns, 4,956 yards rushing and 336 points.
Sayers suffered a major knee injury nine games into the 1968 season. Another injury in 1970 led Sayers to call it a career.
He was the athletic director at Southern Illinois University at the time of his Hall of Fame induction and later worked at his alma mater, Kansas University.
--Field Level Media