The Best Chicago Bears Of All Time By Jersey Number: #40-49

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#40-Gale Sayers

Tenure: 1965-1971

Despite knee injuries that kept him from having a long NFL career, Gale Sayers is still looked at as one of the best running backs in NFL history and is still the youngest man ever inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. After tearing ligaments in his right knee in a game in 1968, teammate Brian Piccolo helped with his rehabilitation and Sayers came back in 1969 to lead the league in rushing despite the Bears’ 1-13 record. The following season, he injured the left knee and played only two games in 1971. He played in two preseason games in 1972, but knew his time in the NFL was done and retired. In only five full seasons, Sayers was a four-time Pro Bowler, a five-time First Team All-Pro, a member of the 1960s All-Decade Team and the 50th and 75th Anniversary All-Time Teams. His #40 was retired by the Bears in 1994.

1965: 14 games, 166 carries, 867 yards, 14 TD—29 receptions, 507 yards, 6 TD—16 punt returns, 238 yards, 1 TD—21 kick returns, 660 yards, 1 TD

1966: 14 games, 229 carries, 1231 yards, 8 TD—34 receptions, 447 yards, 2 TD—6 punt returns, 44 yards—23 kick returns, 718 yards, 2 TD

1967: 13 games, 186 carries, 880 yards, 7 TD—16 receptions, 126 yards, 1 TD—3 punt returns, 80 yards, 1 TD—16 kick returns, 603 yards, 3 TD

1968: 9 games, 138 carries, 856 yards, 2 TD—15 receptions, 117 yards—2 punt returns, 29 yards—17 kick returns, 461 yards

1969: 14 games, 236 carries, 1032 yards, 8 TD—17 receptions, 116 yards—14 kick returns, 339 yards

1970: 2 games, 23 carries, 52 yards

1971: 2 games, 13 carries, 38 yards

Runner-up: NONE