Gale Sayers, Bears legend and ‘Kansas Comet’, passes away at 77

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Chicago Bears legend and Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers has died at the age of 77, according to Pro Football Hall of Fame CEO David Baker.

Known as the ‘Kansas Comet’, Sayers was selected 4th overall out of the University of Kansas in 1965, and burst onto the scene of the NFL as a star immediately. Sayers was born in Wichita.

Along with an NFL Rookie of the Year award in 1965, Sayers accumulated four Pro Bowl selections, five first-team All-Pro selections, along with winning the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award in 1969.

RELATED LINK | Gale Sayers KU History | Kansas Sports Hall of Fame Gale Sayers

Despite playing only 68 NFL games due to injuries later in his career, Sayers was a first-ballot Pro Football Hall of Famer, and was also inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame for his accomplishments as a Kansas Jayhawk.

Sayers made history as the youngest Hall of Fame inductee ever at age 34, and continued his involvement with football as the athletic director for Southern Illinois University from 1976-1981.

Sayers later founded Crest Computer Supply Co. in Chicago in 1984, a company eventually renamed Sayers 40, Inc., a technology consulting firm serving Fortune 1000 companies.

Sayers and his wife, Ardythe, were philanthropists in the Chicago area, supporting the Cradle Foundation, which founded the Gale Sayers Center in Austin.

Pro Football Hall of Fame member Gale Sayers is honored at halftime during the game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on October 31, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Sayers has his number 40 retired by the Chicago Bears, and was named the fifth-greatest Bear of all time in a list made by the franchise in 2019.

“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. 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,” said Hall of Fame President and CEO David Baker.

“The entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Gale. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Ardie, and their entire family. We will forever keep his legacy alive to serve as inspiration for future generations. The Hall of Fame flag will fly at half-staff until he is laid to rest,” Baker added.

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