The NFL is mourning the death of Gale Sayers, Chicago Bears legend who is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was 77 years old, and the cause of death was not revealed. Pro Football Hall of Fame president David Baker announced the news on Wednesday morning, which led to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell releasing a statement.
"The NFL family lost a true friend today with the passing of Gale Sayers," Goodell said. "Gale was one of the finest men in NFL history and one of the game's most exciting players. Gale was an electrifying and elusive runner who thrilled fans every time he touched the ball. He earned his place as a first-ballot Hall of Famer. We will also forever remember Gale for his inspiration and kindness. Gale's quiet unassuming demeanor belied his determination, competitiveness and compassion."
Sayers only played in the NFL for seven seasons but was arguably the best running back during the 1960s. In 68 career games, Sayers rushed for 4,956 yards and 39 touchdowns and averaging five yards per carry. He was named to the All-Pro First Team five times and was selected to the Pro Bowl four times. Here's a look at fans reacting to the news.
It is with great sadness the Chicago Bears mourn the loss of Bears Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers. Sayers amplified what it meant to be a Chicago Bear both on and off the field. He was regarded as an extraordinary teammate, leader, husband and father. He was 77. pic.twitter.com/cK8kS9ru8b— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) September 23, 2020
My heart is broken over the loss of my dear friend, Gale Sayers.— Billy Dee Williams (@realbdw) September 23, 2020
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
"Give me 18 inches of daylight. That's all I need."September 23, 2020
1. Jim Brown
2. Walter Payton
3. O.J. Simpson
4. GALE SAYERS
In that order.— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) September 23, 2020
"Give me 18 inches of daylight. That's all I need."
Legendary Bears RB Gale Sayers has died at the age of 77.September 23, 2020
Gale Sayers was someone who I admired long before I arrived in Chicago. I loved his approach to the game and of course, how he played it. He inspired me to be great in a city that loves sports like no other. RIP to one of the @NFL’s best ever. #KansasComet @ChicagoBears pic.twitter.com/Rc3zytUjQj— Scottie Pippen (@ScottiePippen) September 23, 2020
Gale Sayers' light never was intended to burn long. It was intended to burn brightest, and it did. Rest In Peace to a legendary football player, philanthropist, and believer.— Dan Pompei (@danpompei) September 23, 2020
RIP Gale Sayers.— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) September 23, 2020
One of the most electric players the game has ever seen.
Godspeed, Gale Sayers. A few months ago I wrote about the night, 50 years earlier, when “Brian’s Song” was born. https://t.co/R1xVBzCA3V— Mike Vaccaro (@MikeVacc) September 23, 2020
i know many thing none of the stars of yesteryear could play today, but old heads talked about gale sayers like he was a superhero. hall of famer on the strength of five seasons.— bomani (@bomani_jones) September 23, 2020
RIP to Gale Sayers, an explosive threat to score anywhere on the field. He scored a 50+ yard touchdown 17 times in his 68-game career, a remarkable rate of one in every four games that had been unmatched until verrrry recently. pic.twitter.com/LZze2Vosw9— Football Perspective (@fbgchase) September 23, 2020
Gale Sayers vs. the 49ers in 1965:
- 4 rushing TD
- 1 receiving TD
- 1 punt return TD
SIX total touchdowns is an NFL single-game record that still stands today.September 23, 2020
#Bears Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers, one of the most exciting players to ever play the game, has passed away. He was 77.— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) September 23, 2020
We lost an NFL legend in Gale Sayers:
- Won Rookie of the Year in 1965— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 23, 2020
- Led NFL in rushing in 1966 & 1969
- Averaged 30.6 yards per kick return, most in NFL history
- Last player to score 6 TD in a game
- Inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977 pic.twitter.com/cCKDTdu9WK
"If you wish to see perfection as a running back, you had best get a hold of a film of Gale Sayers," George Halas said when he presented Gale Sayers at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.
The Kansas Comet passed away today at the age of 77. https://t.co/bEETFtpXve— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) September 23, 2020
I asked Gale Sayers for the best advise he ever received. From his HS football coach: “when it’s you vs 1 person you should win 100% of the time, when it’s you vs 2 people you win 75% of the time. Set your expectations higher than others imagine, then exceed them.” RIP #BearDown pic.twitter.com/WrDKLzfEQH— ashton kutcher (@aplusk) September 23, 2020
Chicago Tribune game story from Gale Sayers’ 6 TD game in 1965. What a lede! pic.twitter.com/XgFH4uhkvs— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) September 23, 2020
Take some time to watch some clips of the legendary #Bears RB Gale Sayers today. He was as graceful and electric of a runner as you will ever see. Ever. My sincere condolences to his family. 🙏🏾— Louis Riddick (@LRiddickESPN) September 23, 2020
The Cubs are saddened by the loss of Bears Hall of Fame RB Gale Sayers.
We join the Chicago sports community and football world in mourning the passing of a legend who made a home at Wrigley Field. pic.twitter.com/z34a73fHNz— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 23, 2020
My father always told me: If you talk about running backs and don’t mention Gale Sayers, you don’t know what you’re taking about. RIP to a legend and all time great. pic.twitter.com/dMMl6U0DrB— Mike Greenberg (@Espngreeny) September 23, 2020