The Chicago Bears Franchise is known for producing some of the best linebackers in the history of the NFL. From generation to generation, putting on the Bears uniform meant a dedication to excellence on the defensive side of the ball. Perhaps no position on the field is that more fully understood than at linebacker. Here is a list of the Top-5 greatest Bears linebackers of all-time.
#5 Bronko Nagurski
While most remember Nagurski for his work as a fullback in George Halas’ pre-World War II Bears, Nagurski was equally effective on the defensive side of the ball playing linebacker. The Hall of Famer spent nine seasons competing for Halas, winning two NFL Championships in the process. Nagurski truly set the tone for the Bears franchise on what it means to be a linebacker in the NFL.
#4 Bill George
A name that isn’t mentioned nearly enough among the Bears great lineage of middle-linebackers is Bill George. George was the heart and soul of the Bears defense during the 1950′s and ’60′s and led them to their last NFL Championship victory in 1963. The Hall of Fame inductee continued what Nagurski started and pushed the bar even higher for what to expect from a Bears linebacker.
#3 Brian Urlacher
One of the best middle-linebackers during the 2000′s, Urlacher made his presence felt every time he stepped onto the field. The eight-time Pro Bowler was a force at the second level, known for his innate ability to blow up run-plays and rush the passer. His enormous impact on the Bears defense was enough to earn him the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in 2005, and a trip to the Super Bowl a year later for the second time in franchise history. When Urlacher becomes eligible, he will undoubtedly be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
#2 Mike Singletary
The heart and soul of the 1985 Bear’s defense came up just short on my all-time list and it was truly a toss-up. The man known as “Samurai Mike” put the fear of God into opposing running backs and quarterbacks with his bone-crushing hits that could be heard from the nose-bleed seats. A 10-time Pro Bowler during his 12-year career, Singletary retired as one of the best to ever put on the pads as a middle-linebacker, setting the tone for players like Urlacher decades later. Singletary is now immortalized in Canton as a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
#1 Dick Butkus
A man that needs no introduction is Dick Butkus, the embodiment of what it means to be a middle-linebacker in the NFL. The most feared man in the history of the NFL was a human wrecking-ball when he stepped out on the field, laying some of the most viscous hits that the game has ever seen. Standing 6’3″ he towered over the offensive line and sent shivers down the spines of quarterbacks before the ball was even snapped. Butkus spent only nine seasons in the NFL, but the impact he made in that small-window of time is still felt today. A no-brainer Hall of Famer, Butkus is a member of the NFL’s 1960′s and 1970′s All-Decade teams and one of the best to ever play the game of football.
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