Gale Sayers, Hall of Fame running back for the Chicago Bears, has died at age 77


Gale Sayers, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, died Wednesday. He was 77.

Sayers played seven seasons with the Chicago Bears and was the youngest man ever inducted to the Hall of Fame when he did so at age 34 in 1977.

“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,” Hall of Fame president and CEO David Baker said in a statement. “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, a native of Nebraska who played his college football at Kansas, scored 56 total touchdowns and ran for almost 5,000 yards in his NFL career. Sayers lead the league in rushing twice and was named All-Pro all five seasons he was not hampered by injury.

He lived the end of his life with dementia.

“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,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “Gale was an electrifying and elusive runner who thrilled fans every time he touched the ball. He earned his place as a first-ballot Hall of Famer. We will also forever remember Gale for his inspiration and kindness. Gale’s quiet unassuming demeanor belied his determination, competitiveness and compassion.”