The Greatest Bears by Number (80-84)

I wish I had a sweet picture like this in my portfolio. via cache2.asset-cache.net

Here I am, bringing you yet another history post on a Friday before a game, I hope that's all right with everyone! :) Just kidding, let's get to it! Only three more posts after this one so we're really closing in. In these next two we're going to be exploring a lot of receivers and tight ends. Hopefully you'll remember some names and maybe there will even be a couple guys worthy of an honorable mention or two!

80 - Curtis Conway, WR (1993-99): I remember on Dane's post about favorite lesser-known Bears someone said Conway could have been a household name had he had any string of good, consistent quarterbacks during his career. This is probably true, not only of his time with the Bears but also his career (with stops in the pre-2004 Brees San Diego, the Jets and the 49ers). Injuries also likely factor in somewhat too because he only played in 16 games three times with the Bears. But in his time with the Bears he turned in back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons in '95 and '96. His 329 receptions are good for third in team history, his 4.498 receiving yards are good for fifth and his 31 TDs tie him with Johnny Morris for fifth as well. All that in 92 career games.

81 - Doug Atkins, DE (1955-66): This Hall of Famer was an eight-time Pro-Bowler and one-time First-Team All-Pro. He was a part of the 1963 NFL Championship team and was a fierce defender. Agile to go with his 6'8" frame he sounds like an old time Julius Peppers. He might be better remembered had sacks been a stat in his time, NFL Network put him number nine on the Top Ten: Pass Rushers episode. Honorable Mention - Bobby Engram, WR (1996-2000): Engram was the ultimate possession receiver, as evidenced by his 11.5 yds/rec average with the Bears. That said though, he came darn close to 1,000 yards twice with the Bears (987 yards in '98 and 947 in '99). His 246 receptions are good for eighth all-time.

82 - Ray Bray, G/DG (1939-51): Bray was a four-time Pro-Bowler who played guard on both sides of the ball (if I recall correctly defensive guard was a LB before modern defense). He was a part of all four Bears championship teams in the '40s. He also has a pretty cool name.

83 - Willie Gault, WR (1983-87): One of the fastest players, ever, he still holds some sprinting records. It's appropriate then that the only other team he played for after the Bears was the Raiders. You have to assume that had the Raiders picked ahead of the Bears in the '83 draft Gault wouldn't have come to Chicago. But I digress, Gault did go to Chicago and played five seasons with the Bears. His 27 TD receptions rank sixth in team history and 3,650 yards are good for seventh. His 19.8 yards per catch is good for fourth among receivers with at least 100 receptions.

84 - Brian Baschnagel, WR/KR (1976-84): Not a whole lot of greats at no. 84, unless we're going off preseason, in which case this should be Brandon Rideau and no. 83 should be Mike Hass. But it isn't so Baschnagel it is. He caught 134 passes for 2,024 yards and nine touchdowns. He returned 89 kicks for 2,102 yards and a TD. All nine of his seasons were spent in Chicago and he was the longest tenured of the number 84s.

The rest of series:

Numbers 00-4           Numbers 25-29     Numbers 50-54    Numbers 75-79

Numbers 5-9             Numbers 30-34     Numbers 55-59

Numbers 10-14        Numbers 35-39      Numbers 60-64

Numbers 15-19        Numbers 40-44      Numbers 65-69

Numbers 20-24        Numbers 45-49      Numbers 70-74

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