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Linebacker Otis Wilson #55 of the Chicago Bears shadows quarterback Tommy Kramer #9 of the Minnesota Vikings during a game in 1987 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo By Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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 the countdown.
We continue the countdown with our Number 28 selection, which goes to our third straight member of the 1985 Bears, linebacker Otis Wilson.
Wilson, who was drafted in the first round of the 1980 NFL Draft by the Bears, played his college ball at Louisville and immediately established himself as one of the premier players on a Bears team loaded with defensive talent. In his career in the Windy City, he racked up 36 sacks (his first two seasons aren’t included in that total, as sacks weren’t an official stat until 1982), and he had 10 interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns. He also forced eight fumbles in his career.
The 1986 Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots provided a lot of career highlights for players (including William Perry and Jim McMahon), but Wilson played really well in his first appearance in the championship game. While Richard Dent won MVP honors with his 1.5 sacks in the game, Wilson picked up two of his own as the Bears held the Patriots to just 123 yards of offense in the game.
His playing career was relatively short at only eight years with the Bears and one additional game with the Los Angeles Raiders, but ever since he retired, he’s been making plenty of waves in many areas. For one thing, his charitable organization, the Otis Wilson Charitable Association, “provides an all-inclusive health and fitness program for at risk youth,” according to their website. The group sponsors all sorts of events to fund their programs, including a Mike Ditka look-alike contest, and they are very active in the Chicago area.
Wilson doesn’t just let his charitable acts do all of the talking either. After the Seattle Seahawks throttled the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl in February, Wilson dismissed comparisons of the Seattle defense to that of the 1985 Bears. Here’s what he said in an interview when asked about the comparison:
“You look at Richard Dent, Mike Singletary, Wilbur Marshall, Dan Hampton…come on. Do I need to say more? When they get to that point, then we can talk about it. Right now, they’re not there yet. They got a little more winning to do.”
Whether or not the Seahawks can ever fully measure up with the 1985 Bears, one thing is for certain: Wilson isn’t afraid to share his opinion.
While so much of the adulation for the ’85 Bears goes to guys like Dent and Singletary, players like Wilson were the ones that really helped them to become great. A lot of teams have great individual players, but it’s the quality of the lower-tier players that really sets the tone, and Wilson was one of the best at providing additional punch behind the initial onslaught.
That being said, Wilson was still a first round pick, and the fact that he had a good, but not great, NFL career hurts him a bit here. He was an integral part of that Bears team, and as such deserves a spot on the countdown, but 28 is about as high as we’re willing to put him.