2/18/2011 4:45 PM
Former Bears safety Dave Duerson, a member of the famed 1985 Super Bowl championship team, was found dead Thursday night in his Miami home. He was 50.
Duerson played seven seasons for the Bears from 1983-89 after arriving as a third-round draft pick from Notre Dame. A key member of a dominant defense that’s considered one of the best in NFL history, he was selected to four straight Pro Bowls from 1985-88.
“Our family asks that you please remember Dave as a good, kind and caring man,” the Duerson family said in a statement. “He loved and cherished his family and friends and was extremely proud of his beloved Notre Dame and Chicago Bears. Please keep Dave and our family in your prayers.”
Duerson appeared in 102 games with 76 starts with the Bears, recording 566 tackles, 18 interceptions, 15 sacks, seven forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and 46 pass breakups.
“We are stunned and saddened to hear the tragic news regarding Dave Duerson,” the Bears said in a statement. “He was a great contributor to our team and the Chicago community. Today is a difficult day for all of us who loved Dave. We’ll miss him. Our prayers are with his family.”
“Not only is it a surprise, but it’s very, very sad,” former Bears coach Mike Ditka said on the “Waddle and Silvy Show” on ESPN 1000 in Chicago.
Duerson became a full-time starter in 1985 when he replaced Todd Bell, who set out the Super Bowl season in a contract dispute.
“We liked [Duerson] a lot,” Ditka said. “He stepped right in and became a starter at the strong safety position and was outstanding. Him and [Gary] Fencik, it was terrific.
“[Duerson] was a real good football player, period. He was a good team guy. He played that system about as well as anybody could have at strong safety. Him and Gary did a great job for us. You’re talking about the whole package. You’re not talking about a guy who just covered. He forced, he tackled; he did everything.”
Duerson won a second Super Bowl ring in his lone season with the New York Giants in 1990 before spending the final three years of his NFL career with the Phoenix Cardinals from 1991-93.
In 1987, Duerson was selected the winner of the prestigious NFL Man of the Year Award, the only league honor that recognizes a player’s off-the-field community service as well as his playing excellence.
Duerson was a four-year starter and two-time All-American at Notre Dame, where he returned 12 interceptions for a school-record 256 yards and was named team MVP as a senior.
Duerson, who was divorced, is survived by four children.
using the number/letter grid:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z
A = 1 J = 1 S = 1
B = 2 K = 2 T = 2
C = 3 L = 3 U = 3
D = 4 M = 4 V = 4
E = 5 N = 5 W = 5
F = 6 O = 6 X = 6
G = 7 P = 7 Y = 7
H = 8 Q = 8 Z = 8
I = 9 R = 9
4145 4359165 47
his path of destiny / how he learned what he was here to learn = 47 = Famous. Name & fame. Notoriety. Name recognition. (Inter)nationally known. High profile. VIP. Well-known. Household name. Public life. Limelight. Legendary. Notable. Noteworthy.