Last time we started getting into linebackers and I don't need to tell you how many greats we've had between 50 and 54. Today that trend continues between 55 and 59. This one even includes some close calls on who gets the call and who gets the Honorable Mention. I mean how do you choose between Otis Wilson, Lance Briggs and Doug Buffone? Click past the jump and we'll find out how you decide that and more!
Easily the hardest choice in this post was at number 55. Otis Wilson played eight seasons with the Bears, Buffone 14 and Briggs is entering his ninth. Tackle and forced fumble stats weren't available for Buffone or Wilson. I think I made the right choice though, but I am sure there will be people who disagree. The choice between Colvin and Chico was a tough one too, but since we're going with player-only contributions Colvin gets the nod. Especially considering Colvin was a full time starter despite playing far less years with the team.
55 - Lance Briggs, OLB (2003-present): Briggs has been a staple alongside Urlacher for much of the last decade and is probably the one most easily identified as the best of Jerry Angelo late-round finds. He's also been one of the faces of the Lovie Smith era since he entered the league just one year before our current coach arrived. He has been elected to six straight Pro-Bowls and was a First-Team All-Pro selection in 2005. His career numbers: 10.5 sacks, 12 INTs, nine forced fumbles and 60 pass deflections. Honorable Mentions - Doug Buffone, LB (1966-79): 14 seasons all with the Bears, that kind of longevity has to be recognized. He's also a Chicago radio guy and even though I don't listen to him I'm sure he is a pretty good homer, haha. Otis Wilson, LB (1980-87): 36 sacks, 10 INTs and a Pro-Bowler in 1985.
56 - Bill Hewitt, E (1932-36): Perhaps best remembered as the last player to not where a helmet, Hewitt was a good receiver for the team back in the '30s. He totaled 52 career receptions for 939 yards and 13 TDs. This doesn't sound like much but it was obviously enough for the Bears to retire his number. He was a three-time First-Team All-Pro selection for the Bears.
57 - Olin Kreutz, C (1998-2010): Yes, we are all painfully aware of the nasty divorce between the team and the long time leader of the o-line. Frankly though, he is probably my favorite Bear since I really got into following the team. His leadership, grit and determination was something to admire. He was one game shy of Walter Payton's all-time starts as a Bear. While Kreutz's physical play has dropped a bit in the recent past, his leadership could leave a void for the foreseeable future. He was a six-time Pro-Bowler (all consecutive) and a one-time First-Team All-Pro. Also, I was afraid if I didn't pick him, he'd break my jaw. Honorable Mention - Tom Thayer, RG (1985-92): Thayer started 120 of 123 games with the Bears. In his time in Chicago he missed only five games. He never made a Pro-Bowl but he is remembered for being a tough guy and a staple of the great Bears o-lines of the '80s. Thayer is a Chicago guy through and through, being from Joliet and he played at Notre Dame. He's now the other half of the great broadcast crew with Jeff Joniak and his knowledge of the game is impeccable. The link on his name goes to his TLBHB post.
58 - Wilbur Marshall, LB (1984-87): Marshall played only four seasons in Chicago but he is a colorful character (as evidenced in the linked Taking a Look in the Bears History Book two-part post on him Part I on his name, part II here). Marshall could have made this list on his 1985 NFCC Game fumble return alone but he was a hell of a player and probably one of the first post-'85 departures that hurt the team the most. I remember reading a book about the rise and fall of the '85 Bears and there were a lot of players who seemed to think that the McCaskey's thought they could replace Marshall and the team should have payed him. Marshall made two Pro-Bowls and was an All-Pro selection once in his time in Chicago and some say he should be a Hall of Famer. In just his four years with the Bears he picked up 16.5 sacks, nine INTs and eight forced fumbles.
59 - Rosevelt Colvin, LB (1999-2002): Colvin played only four years with the Bears but in that time he started 36 games, while appearing in 56 overall. He got 26 sacks, two INTs and 10 forced fumbles. He was never a Pro-Bowler or an All-Pro but he was a great contributor for the team. Honorable Mention - Ron Rivera, LB (1984-92): He started only 56 of the 137 games he played in for the Bears but in that time Chico grabbed nine INTs and seven and a half sacks. He later contributed as a defensive coordinator for the team.