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  1. #1
    Prophet Guest

    Butkus arguably most ferocious defender in NFL history

    Butkus arguably most ferocious defender in NFL history
    By Larry Mayer
    February 17, 2006

    LAKE FOREST, Ill. - Bill George was voted to eight straight Pro Bowls and eventually enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But the legendary middle linebacker knew that his days with the Bears were numbered when rookie Dick Butkus arrived at training camp in 1965.

    Bears legend Dick Butkus was named All-Pro in seven of his nine NFL seasons.

    "I've never seen anyone who was such a cinch," George said of the first-round draft pick. "I'd been having trouble recovering from a knee operation, and the day Dick showed up in camp I knew I was out of a job."

    Arguably the most ferocious defensive player in NFL history, Butkus no doubt also sent several opponents into retirement. The 6-3, 245-pounder was an intimidating and relentless force who possessed an unrivaled mixture of talent, aggression and hostility.

    After being selected by the Bears with the third overall pick in the draft, Butkus was voted to the Pro Bowl in each of his first eight NFL seasons. He was also selected as an All-Pro in seven of his nine seasons in Chicago.

    Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1979 in his first year of eligibility, Butkus is my choice as the second greatest player in Bears history.

    "If I had a choice, I'd sooner go one on one with a grizzly bear," Packers running back MacArthur Lane once said. "I pray that I can get up after every time Butkus hits me."

    "He is a legendary football player," former Rams coach Tommy Prothro said when Butkus was in his prime. "I never thought any player could play as well as writers write that he can, but Butkus comes as close as any I've ever seen."

    A Chicago native who was an All-American linebacker at the University of Illinois, Butkus recovered 25 fumbles during his career, which was an NFL record when he retired. His 47 takeaways were a team mark until Gary Fencik registered 50 in 12 seasons from 1976-87.

    "I wouldn't ever set out to hurt anybody deliberately," Butkus said early in his career, "unless it was, you know, important-like in a league game or something."

    Born on Dec. 9, 1942 into a large Lithuanian family on Chicago's southeast side, Butkus was driven to fulfill his lifelong goal of becoming an NFL player. Once he entered the league, he pushed himself even harder to achieve excellence.

    "I want to be recognized as the best, no doubt about it," Butkus said. "When they say, 'All-Pro middle linebacker,' I want them to mean Butkus!"

    Hall of Famer Dick Butkus generated 47 takeaways in nine seasons with the Bears.

    To Jim Dooley, who served as Bears head coach from 1968-71 after George Halas retired, Butkus was a special player who worked at creating his nasty disposition.

    "He's very seldom happy during the week before a game," Dooley once said. "Maybe one day a week I'll see him smile. The rest of the time he goes around angry. He builds himself up mentally for the game, so by the end of the week he's really mad."

    Butkus went to great lengths to whip himself into an emotional frenzy, inventing imaginary scenarios to fuel his rage.

    "When I went out on the field to warm up, I made up things to make me mad," Butkus said. "If someone on the other team was laughing, I'd pretend he was laughing at me or at the Bears. I'd manufacture things to make me mad. I'd find something. It always worked for me."

    Two knee injuries forced Butkus to retire following the 1973 season. But the pain was worth it.

    "Few people get to earn a living at what they like to do and there are hazards in any profession," Butkus said. "Football is something I was made for. I gave the game all I could for as long as I could. I guess my only regret was that my career was too short."

  2. #2
    Ltrey33 is offline Jersey Retired
    Join Date
    Dec 1969

    Re: Butkus arguably most ferocious defender in NFL history

    Nah, Greg Biekert was! By far! :lol:

  3. #3
    BBQ Platypus's Avatar
    BBQ Platypus is offline Team Alumni
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    Dec 1969
    Saint Paul, MN

    Re: Butkus arguably most ferocious defender in NFL history

    Well, it's hard to argue against that assertion. The only thing Dick Butkus had going against him was his name, but he beat the ever-loving crap out of anyone who made fun of it in his schoolyard years.

    "This is my timey-wimey detector. It goes ding when there's stuff."

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