Who is Gale Sayers? Gale Sayers Biography
Gale Eugene Sayers was a former American football player who was a National Football League (NFL) halfback and return specialist. He was born on May 30, 1943, in Wichita, Kansas. Sayers spent seven seasons with the Chicago Bears from 1965 to 1971 in a relatively brief yet highly productive NFL career, although numerous injuries largely limited him to four full seasons of play, and in the last two seasons, he played in just two games each before deciding to retire during the 1971 season. He was renowned for his elusiveness and stamina and was considered as one of the toughest players to tackle by his peers.
Gale Sayers Age
He was 77 years old.
Nicknamed the “Kansas Comet,” Sayers played college football for the University of Kansas’ Kansas Jayhawks football team, where he accrued 4,020 all-purpose yards over three seasons and was recognized as an All-American consensus twice. He set a league record by scoring 22 touchdowns in Sayers’ rookie NFL season, including a record-tying six in one game, and earned 2,272 all-purpose yards en route to being named the NFL’s Rookie of the Year.
In his first five seasons, he continued this output, receiving four Pro Bowl appearances and five All-Pro first-team selections. Sayers was forced to miss the final five games of the 1968 season with a right knee injury, but he returned in 1969 to lead the NFL in rushing yards and be voted the NFL Comeback Player of the Year. For much of his final two seasons, an injury to his left knee in the 1970 preseason and subsequent injuries held him sidelined.
Sayers was inspired to write his autobiography, I Am Seventh, which in turn was the basis for the 1971 made-for-TV movie Brian’s Song, by his friendship with Bears teammate Brian Piccolo, who died of cancer in 1970. In 1977, at age 34, Sayers was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and remains the youngest person to have received the distinction.
As a halfback and kick returner, he was named to the 75th Anniversary Team of the NFL, the only player to hold two positions on the team. Sayers was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame the same year for his accomplishments in college. Both the Bears and the University of Kansas are remembering his jersey number (40/48, respectively). Sayers started a career in sports administration and business after his NFL career and served as Southern Illinois University’s athletic director from 1976 to 1981.
Sayers’ wife, , announced in March 2017 that four years ago, he had been diagnosed with dementia. She said a doctor from the Mayo Clinic reported that it was possibly caused by his profession in football. She said, “It wasn’t so much getting hit in the head.” It was just the shaking of the brain when they took him down with the force in which they played the game. ” Although he remained physically healthy, the disease had an adverse effect on his mental health and memory, in particular, making it difficult for simple tasks such as signing his own name. After suffering for many years from dementia, Sayers died on September 23, 2020.
— Jarrett Payton (@paytonsun) September 23, 2020
Hall of Famer and @ChicagoBears Legend Gale Sayers has passed away at the age of 77.
— Pro Football Hall of Fame (@ProFootballHOF) September 23, 2020
My heart is broken over the loss of my dear friend, Gale Sayers.
Portraying Gale in Brian’s Song was a true honor and one of the nightlights of my career. He was an extraordinary human being with the the kindest heart.
My sincerest condolences to his family 💔#RIPGaleSayers pic.twitter.com/OyQRlwuznU
— Billy Dee Williams (@realbdw) September 23, 2020