Hall of Fame Career Profile Throughout the storied history of the National Football League, memories of great men making great plays in great games are enshrined forever in the hallowed halls at Canton. Quarterbacks throwing long touchdown passes, fleet footed receivers dueling free safeties, fierce trench warfare at the line of scrimmage and elusive running backs taking on hard hitting linebackers have delivered moments unparalleled in professional sports.
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Reminisce for any length of time about gridiron glory of running backs, and the name Gale Sayers emerges to the forefront. Born in Wichita, KS, Sayers' work ethic and development of his God given athletic talents resulted in dozens of major college football scholarship offers. He chose to stay in state, traveling to Lawrence to play at Memorial Stadium for the University of Kansas Jayhawks. While there (1961-1965) Sayers was a two time All American tailback whose 99 yard touchdown run as a sophomore against Nebraska is still an NCAA record today.
But the "Kansas Comet" had just started to take off. Sayers was soon selected in the NFL draft by the Chicago Bears. As early as his first pro season, Coach Halas and Bear opponents realized the Hall of Fame would some day add number 40 to its prestigious roster. Sayers’ NFL career (1965-1971) soon became a treasured highlight film. The quick, agile and elusive Sayers caused scores of missed tackles and created never-ending headaches for defensive coaches throughout the league. Here are just a few of many memorable moments of a truly magical career:
NFL Rookie of the Year 1965 NFL record six touchdowns in one game (vs. San Francisco) 1965 Led the NFL in scoring (22 touchdowns) 1965 All time NFL kickoff return leader (touchdowns and average) NFL All Star Game MVP 1967, 1968, 1970 Member of the 75th Anniversary All Time Team
In addition, after just three seasons in the National Football League, Sayers was voted to the first team as halfback of the NFL’s First 50 Years All Star Team. In 1970, Sayers was named the NFL’s most courageous player by the Pro Football Writers of America to acknowledge his dedicated comeback from career threatening knee surgery. Seven years later, Sayers became the youngest player in NFL history to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Upon retirement from the Chicago Bears, Sayers made his off the field life as exciting and productive as his football career. Sayers’ many contributions to academics, athletics, business, community and charities include:
Board of Trustees member for the Boy Scouts of America Chicago Chapter Board member of the Marklund Children's Home for handicapped children Alumni spokesman for the Boys and Girls Club of America Board member of the Better Boys Foundation Board member of The Cradle Adoption Agency National Board member for Junior Achievement (1992-1997)
Sayers currently serves as President of Sayers Computer Source, a company he founded with his wife in 1984. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education and a Masters of Science degree in Educational Administration from the University of Kansas. Sayers has also undertaken financial management training at the New York Institute of Finance.
In conclusion, Gale Sayers’ Hall of Fame story is not complete without mentioning his work as an author and humanitarian. Besides developing a book of Offensive Football Fundamentals, Sayers’ much acclaimed autobiography I am Third represents more than athletic and business success, it reflects a philosophy of life: the Lord is first; my family and friends are second; I am Third. The sad yet heart warming, award winning television movie "Brian’s Song" was scripted directly from I am Third. The movie featured the special on and off the field relationship between Gale Sayers and his cancer stricken teammate, Brian Piccolo. Pride, poise, leadership, dedication and loyalty are all Hall of Fame traits exhibited by the original "Magic" man of professional sports. For Gale Sayers, and men like him, sacrifice equals greatness.
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