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I Am Third

I Am Third

05/30/2019
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On May 30, 1943 Chicago Bears legend Gale Sayers was born in Wichita, Kansas. Raised in Omaha, Nebraska, Sayers' younger brother, Ron, later played running back for the San Diego Chargers. Roger, his older brother, was a decorated college track and field athlete. Gale graduated from Omaha Central High School where he starred in football and track and field. Sayers was recruited by several major Midwestern colleges before deciding to play college football at The University of Kansas. During his Jayhawks career, he rushed for 2,675 yards and gained a Big Eight Conference-record 4,020 all-purpose yards. As a sophomore in 1962, his first year on the varsity team, the “Kansas Comet” averaged 7.1 yards per carry. Sayers was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the first round, 4th overall, in the 1965 NFL Draft, and was also picked 5th overall by the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFL draft. In his rookie year with the Bears, he scored an NFL-record 22 touchdowns: 14 rushing, six receiving, and one each on punt and kickoff returns. He gained 2,272 all-purpose yards, a record for an NFL rookie, with 1,371 of them coming from scrimmage. Sayers averaged 5.2 yards per rush and 17.5 yards per reception. His return averages were 14.9 yards per punt return and a league-high 31.4 yards per kickoff return. He was named NFL Rookie Of The Year for his efforts. In a brief but highly productive NFL career, Sayers spent 7 seasons with the Bears from 1965 to 1971. His friendship with Bears teammate Brian Piccolo, who died of cancer in 1970, inspired Sayers to write his autobiography, I Am Third, which in turn was the basis for the 1971 made-for-TV movie Brians Song. Sayers was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977 at age 34, and remains the youngest person to receive the honor. He has also been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. His jersey number is retired by both the Bears and the Jayhawks. 

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