The Chicago Bears on Monday night will retire their 14th and final jersey number, with Mike Ditka being the last person to receive the honor.
The Bears’ retired jersey list reads like a who’s who of professional football, with stalwarts like Bronko Nagurski, Walter Payton, Gale Sayers, Dick Butkus, and Red Grange all having the honor of seeing their jerseys retired by the organization. As one of the charter franchises in the NFL, the Bears have had a huge impact on the history of the game, and that collection of retired numbers reflects that.
The question though is this: which Bears players of yesteryear have an argument that their numbers retired by the team? Obviously not every great player in team history would be able to have his number taken out of circulation since there is a finite amount of numbers between 1-99, but there are a few guys at least who are deserving of having their own lockers set up at Halas Hall in the future.
One of the first players that came to mind when discussing the Bears’ decision not to retire any more jerseys was #54 Brian Urlacher. The 8-time Pro Bowl linebacker was a part of one of the best defenses the Bears have ever had, leading the team to Super Bowl XLI in 2007. He was selected as the AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2005, and he also won Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2000.
#95 Richard Dent is another player that many Chicago fans wouldn’t mind seeing immortalized in this way. Dent was a key contributor to the success of the 1985 Super Bowl champions, and won Super Bowl XX MVP honors that season. He also was a four time Pro Bowl selection, and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011.
Speaking of Hall of Famers, #50 Mike Singletary is another guy who has an argument to have his jersey retired. Frequently mentioned in the same breath as Butkus and Urlacher when discussing the Bears’ great legacy of middle linebackers, Singletary was a 10-time Pro Bowler, was named Defensive Player of the Year twice in his career (including in the 1985 championship season) and was named to the 1980’s All-Decade Team by the NFL.
Are there any other players whose numbers you’d like to see hang from the proverbial rafters at Soldier Field? Let us know in the comments below.