On and on we roll! Hard to believe we're already into the 70s (or is it FINALLY into the 70s?). Through out the team's history we've had many, many great players and a lot of great offensive and defensive linemen. This is going to be a chance to showcase some of that talent along the trenches. There were some close calls in this post and even one pick that is sure to be controversial, a one-time Pro-Bowler over a Hall of Famer? What am I thinking?
71 - James "Big Cat" Williams, RT/DT (1991-2002): This one was another tough one. Williams was drafted as a DT but didn't make much of an impact. In '92 he was converted to right tackle and never looked back starting 143 of the rest of his 144-game career at RT. In total he appeared in 166 games. Williams was a longtime fan favorite for being a blue collar "lunch pail" type guy who came into the league from the tiny Cheyney and made his only Pro-Bowl following the 2001 season. He was also a special teams guy blocking or deflecting eight field goals. Honorable Mentions: George Conner, LT/LB/DT (1948-55): I know you're asking "How could a Hall of Famer NOT be first on the list?" Well, Conner played half his career in number 81 one and half in 71. He went to two Pro-Bowls and was twice a First-Team All-Pro with each number. The man was a tremendous player; playing both sides his entire career and he was one of the first athletic LBs but with the number split he gets knocked down a bit. Earl Leggett, DT/DE (1957-65), Israel Idonije, DT/DE (2004-present)
72 - William "Refrigerator" Perry, DT (1985-93): The Fridge was a staple of the '85 Bears, from bowling over the Packers as a FB, to clogging up the middle of the defensive line, Perry, with his trademark gapped-tooth smile was a character all his own. He had a cult following during the magical run to Super Bowl XX and for most of the rest of his career. He is the face of number 72. For his Bears career he tallied 28 and a half sacks, two rushing touchdowns and one receiving. Plus a postseason rushing TD in Super Bowl XX.
73 - Mike Hartenstine, DE (1975-86): Hartenstine played a long time for the Bears, in fact his career was exactly as long as his fellow Bears draft mate Walter Payton. Hartenstine was taken in the second round in '75. He had 24 career sacks, playing only five years while sacks were a stat. He had 12 in '83 though. He also recovered 17 fumbles and scored a safety. Honorable Mention - Bill Bishop, DT (1952-60): Disadvantaged without sacks but Bishop was a good player, he was voted to a Pro-Bowl in '54 and recovered 14 fumbles for his career.
74 - Jimbo Covert, LT (1983-90): A two-time Pro-Bowler and two-time First-Team All-Pro he is considered by many Chicago fans and sportswriters to be a Hall of Fame-caliber tackle. He might have been a HOFer if injuries hadn't shortened his career. He started 110 of 111 games at LT for the Bears and was one of the best of his day. Recent Bears Hall of Famer Richard Dent credited Covert with making him a better DE. I ask though, Bears fans, if only one of our '80s linemen could be voted into the HOF, who would you pick; Covert or Hilgenberg?
The rest of the series: