In the third-to-last post in this long-running series we're getting into some more recognizable names, including one who I have seen argued for as the former Bear who most deserves to have his number retired. Oh and how about number 87? There is no doubt I am going to tick some of you off with my choice there, but how do you choose between legends and fan favorites like Ed O'Bradovich, Tom Waddle and Harlon Hill? Throw in a productive guy like Emery Moorehead and I really had my hands full. That led to easily the longest Honorable Mentions of the series. A couple punters get mentioned, as well as some productive receivers and tight ends. So let's see what's what!
86 - Marty Booker, WR (1999-2003; '08): Booker is probably most famous for being the last Bears receiver to reach 1,000 yards, which he did in back-to-back seasons in 2001 and 2002. He was voted to his only Pro-Bowl in '02. The Bears traded him to Miami for Adewale Ogunleye following the 2003 season but we welcomed him back in 2008 for one largely forgettable season (the exception being this awesome catch vs. the Lions). Booker is tied for third in team history with Curtis Conway with 329, his 3,895 yards is good for sixth and his 25 TDs are good for eighth. Honorable Mention - Bob Parsons, TE/P (1974-83): I feel like I need to mention Parsons who punted 884 times for 34,180 yards for the Bears. His long was 81 yards and his average was 38.7 yards. He also added 19 receptions for 231 yards and four TDs as a tight end, as well as nine rushes for 29 yards and he was 7/13 for 131 yards passing.
87 - Ed O'Bradovich, DE (1962-71): This is easily one of the toughest choices I've had in this entire series. A productive TE in Emery Moorehead, one of the best receivers in team history and a fan favorite to this day in Tom Waddle but I went with "OB" as he was known to teammates. My reasoning is pretty simple: O'Bradovich is a Chicago guy through and through. He attended Proviso East High School in Maywood, Ill. attending U of I and played his entire career for the Bears. He is still a radio personality on the Score with former teammate Doug Buffone. Oh and he gave the induction presentations for the Hall of Fame for both Mike Ditka and Dan Hampton. Apologies to the rest but I can't argue against that resume.
Honorable Mentions - Harlon Hill, WR (1954-61): Hill is second in team history in receiving yards with 4,616, second in TDs and 11th in catches. His 20.4 yards/rec are fourth among WRs with at least 100 receptions. He was a three-time Pro-Bowler and two-time First-Team All-Pro. Tom Waddle, WR (1989-94): Who doesn't love Waddy? He won over Chicago for his hardwork and Chicago mentality of playing tough and being the sort of "everyman" Bears fans seem to love to root for (see; Sanzenbacher, Dane, among others) because of his size, toughness and aforementioned work ethic. Waddle appeared in only 60 games with 41 starts and caught 173 passes for 2,109 yards and nine TDs but he played with determination, including being knocked out in games only to be brought back with smelling salts and coming back into the game (like that would happen today). Waddle was the Bears' leading receiver in '93 before being demoted by Wannstedt in '94. Emery Moorehead, TE (1981-88): Moorehead played for the Giants and Broncos before finding a permanent home in Chicago and he ranks third in team history in receptions among TEs (behind Dez Clark and Mike Ditka) and ranks second in receiving yards among TEs.
88 - Desmond Clark, TE (2003-10): This one may seem like a strange choice but it was actually closer than I expected. Dez is nine spots ahead of Marcus Robinson in receptions in team history (9th vs. 18th) and Robinson is in a four-way tie for 13th in receiving TDs while Dez is right behind them in 17th with 18 (he's tied with Bill Karr) and Clark is exactly 56 yards behind Robinson in 10th on the receiving yards list (2,639 vs. 2,695). So why Dez? Well, he played for the team longer, was a part of more winning teams and was a quiet leader type. He helped the players around him, including Greg Olsen and Kellen Davis. Plus Robinson played for Vikings. Honorable Mention: Marcus Robinson, WR (1998-2002), Among all the stuff mentioned above he also holds the single-season record for receiving yards with 1,400, which he achieved with Cade McNown, Shane Matthews and Jim Miller throwing to him. Bobby Joe Green, P (1962-73): Played 12 seasons for the Bears and averaged 42.1 yards per punt and made a Pro-Bowl in '70.
89 - Mike Ditka, TE (1961-67): It was going to be obvious wasn't it? Ditka revolutionized the tight end position with his combination of speed, catching ability and overall toughness. His competitiveness is well-documented, as are his achievements; he's a Hall of Famer for starters and he was a five-time Pro-Bowler and a two-time First-Team All-Pro. He currently ranks in team history: fifth in catches, fourth in yards and fourth in TDs. His number is generally argued to be the next one most worthy of retirement, if the Bears were to ever do such a thing (unlikely seeing as their 13 current numbers makes only 87 available for the large offseason rosters). He makes this list for his player accomplishments alone but it is worth noting he is among the few to win a championship as a player, assistant coach and head coach. He also won championships as a player with two teams.
The rest of the series: