Former Chicago Bears running back Gale Sayers has died at the age of 77 Wednesday due to complications from dementia.
Although Sayers only played six seasons in the NFL, he was regarded by many as one of the best running backs in NFL history. As a rookie in 1965, the Bears running back amassed 14 rushing touchdowns, six receiving touchdowns, and two touchdowns on punt and kick returns.
“The NFL family lost a true friend today with the passing of Gale Sayers. Gale was one of the finest men in NFL history and one of the game’s most exciting players,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement Wednesday. “Gale was an electrifying and elusive runner who thrilled fans every time he touched the ball,” added Goodell, noting that “we will also forever remember Gale for his inspiration and kindness.
Sayers also worked in the athletic department at the University of Kansas, his alma mater, from 1972 through 1976. The former running back also served as the athletic director at Southern Illinois University Carbondale from 1976 through 1981.
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