DICK BUTKUS

DICK BUTKUS

Class of 1979
Middle Linebacker >>> 6-3, 245
(Illinois)
1965-1973 Chicago Bears

Richard Marvin Butkus ... Two-time Illinois All-American ... First-round draft pick, 1965 ... Exceptional defensive star with speed, quickness, instinct, strength ... Great leader, tremendous competitor, adept at forcing fumbles ... Had 22 lifetime interceptions, 25 opponents' fumble recoveries ... Serious knee injury ended brilliant career ... All-NFL six years ... In eight straight Pro Bowls ... Born December 9, 1942, in Chicago, Illinois.

Dick Butkus possessed a desire to excel that few have ever equaled. He played as the Chicago Bears' middle linebacker for nine years with only one goal in mind – to be the best, and from the very start, he was just that. In his rookie season, Butkus, a first-round draft choice, had only one challenger for National Football League Rookie of the Year honors, teammate Gale Sayers. That same year Butkus was named first-team All-NFL, an honor he would record five more times. Butkus also played in the Pro Bowl following his rookie season and in each of the next seven years.

He even figured in the career statistical columns with 22 interceptions and 27 opponents' fumble recoveries. Dick had drive, meanness, a consuming desire to pursue, tackle, and manhandle – anything he could do to thwart the enemy on every play. Still he was a clean player, totally devoted to his career, a man who by his own admission played every game as though it were his last one.

Butkus had the speed and agility to make tackles from sideline to sideline and to cover the best tight ends and running backs on pass plays. He had instinct, strength, leadership and, maybe most important of all, anger. “When I went out on the field to warm up, I would manufacture things to make me mad,” he once said. “If someone on the other team was laughing, I'd pretend he was laughing at me or the Bears. It always worked for me." It was inevitable that injuries would eventually come to someone who threw himself so completely into a contact sport such as football. For Butkus, it was a serious right knee injury in 1970 that didn't respond completely to surgery. Three years later, he retired. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979, his first year of eligibility.

Year Team
G
Int
Yds.
Avg.
TD
No.
Yds.
TD
1965 Chicago
14
5
84
16.8
0
7
11
0
1966 Chicago
14
1
3
3.0
0
4
0
0
1967 Chicago
14
1
24
24.0
0
3
0
0
1968 Chicago
13
3
14
4.7
0
1
0
0
1969 Chicago
13
2
13
6.5
0
2
0
0
1970 Chicago
14
3
0
0.0
0
2
0
0
1971 Chicago
14
4
9
2.3
0
3
0
0
1972 Chicago
14
2
19
9.5
0
4
11
0
1973 Chicago
9
1
0
0.0
0
1
0
1
Career Total
119
22
166
7.5
0
27
22
1
 
Additional Career Statistics: Rushing: 1-28; Scoring: 1 TD, 1 Safety; Kickoff Returns: 12-120
Butkus never played in a conference or league championship game during his career.

All-NFL: 1965 (AP, NEA, NY), 1967 (UPI, NEA), 1968 (AP, UPI, NEA, PW), 1969 (AP, UPI, NEA, PW, NY), 1970 (AP, PFWA, NEA, PW), 1972 (AP, PFWA, NEA)

All-NFL Second Team: 1965 (UPI), 1966 (AP, UPI, NEA, NY), 1968 (NY), 1971 (PFWA, NEA)

All-Western Conference: 1966 (SN), 1969 (SN)

All-Pro: 1968 (PFWA), 1969 (HOF, PFWA, NEA)

All-NFC: 1970 (AP, UPI, SN PW), 1971 (AP, UPI, PW), 1972 (AP, UPI, SN)

(8) – 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973

• [1st] Most Opponents Fumbles Recovered, Career – 25
• [Tied for 3rd] Most Total Fumbles Recovered, Season – 7 (1965 - 1 own; 6 opponent)

• [1st] Most Opponents Fumbles Recovered, Career – 25
• [1st] Most Opponents Fumbles Recovered, Season – 6 (1965)

Team Statistical Championships
Interception Titles: 1965

• 1960s All-Decade Team
• 1970s All-Decade Team
• NFL’s 75th Anniversary Team
• All-Time NFL Team (selected in year 2000)
• AFL-NFL 1960-1984 All-Star Team (selected in 1985)
• 1969 NFL Defensive Player of the Year (NEA)
• 1970 NFL Defensive Player of the Year (NEA, PW)

Year Team W L T Division Finish
1965 Chicago Bears 9 5 0 (3rd)
1966 Chicago Bears 5 7 2 (2nd)
1967 Chicago Bears 7 6 1 (2nd)
1968 Chicago Bears 7 7 0 (2nd)
1969 Chicago Bears 1 13 0 (4th)
1970 Chicago Bears 6 8 0 (4th)
1971 Chicago Bears 6 8 0 (3rd)
1972 Chicago Bears 4 9 1 (4th)
1973 Chicago Bears 3 11 0 (4th)

 

Full Name: Richard Marvin Butkus

Birthdate: December 9, 1942

Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois

High School: Chicago Vocational

Elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame: January 20, 1979

Enshrined into Pro Football Hall of Fame: July 28, 1979

Presenter: Pete Elliott, Butkus’s head coach at Illinois

Other Members of the Class of 1979: Yale Lary, Ron Mix, Johnny Unitas

Pro Career: 9 Seasons, 119 Games

Drafted: 1st round (3rd player overall) in 1965 by Chicago Bears. (Also drafted in 2nd round in 1965 AFL Draft by Denver Broncos).

Uniform Number: #51
 

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