As the NFL Draft approaches, Grizzly Detail is counting down the Top 30 draft picks in Chicago Bears history. In order to qualify for this list, a player must have worn a Bears uniform for at least five seasons (sorry Rosevelt Colvin and Wilber Marshall), and players who were selected in lower rounds of the draft will have an advantage in this countdown.
Today, we go from one of the best players on the current Bears roster to a player whose heyday came in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, as offensive tackle Herman Lee checks in at the number 13 spot in our countdown.
Born in Phenix City, Alabama, Lee was drafted out of Florida A&M by the Bears in the 23rd round of the 1954 NFL Draft. Despite being taken in that draft, he didn’t actually make his NFL debut until 1957, where he played with the Pittsburgh Steelers for a season. He did come to the Bears the next season, playing there from 1958-1966 and playing in 127 games in his career.
Outside of the fact that he played for a different team in his rookie season than the one that had drafted him, Lee’s longevity was arguably his second most notable career highlight. The first on that list is that he played with the Bears team that won the NFL Championship in 1963. He was a critical piece of the offensive line that also included Stan Jones, and along with Mike Ditka Lee helped form one of the best lines in the league that season.
Judging by how short this post is, you can guess that there aren’t a lot of anecdotes floating around about Lee’s career, but it was the fact that he was taken in such a late round, as well as the fact that he stuck around the league for as long as he did once he finally made his debut three years after his selection, that earned him a spot this high on the list. He may not have the Hall of Fame credentials that Jones has, but having that good of an NFL career after being selected in the 23rd round is what this countdown is all about celebrating: value and quality.