Through the years I've had the chance to meet a few Chicago Bears players. I used to work at a gun club, and we had a handful of Bears that were members of the club. So every now and again, one would show up with some guests. Former tight end James Thornton would frequent the club, wide out Bobby Engram, center Olin Kreutz, tackle James "Big Cat" Williams, Super Bowl champ Tom Thayer, just to name some.
A few of my observations on those players; Kreutz looked too small to man the middle of an NFL offensive line, and Thornton did look like "Robocop". The 5'10", 188 pound Engram looked like a child next to the 6'7", 330 pound Williams, and even though Williams only had me by an inch, he was a mammoth of a man that could barely fit through a doorway.
Those close encounters pale in comparison to another Chicago Bear that I met. Back when I was in high school, some of us on the football team were introduced to Walter Payton. A fresh out of the shower, wearing nothing but his birthday suit, Walter Payton.
So here's my naked Payton story...
After SBXX the Bears were obviously a hot ticket, and my high school had a charity basketball game pitting the teachers vs. the Bears. The event sold out and was standing room only, but when the game started there were no "well known" Bears among them. No Sweetness, no Punky QB, no Fridge, no Hit Man, no big names at all.
As a hard core Bears fans I still dug the event and had fun watching. There were a few Chicago starters at the game, a few Bears alumni, and the teachers lost, so that was always good to see.
Needless to say at the following year's charity basketball game there were plenty of tickets unsold, but this time we also had plenty of "name" Bears come out to play the teachers. Including Walter Payton.
There were other Bears there, but Payton was a living legend, and he's really the only player that I could say with 100% certainty was at our school that day. I seem to recall Otis Wilson, maybe William Perry, a starting offensive lineman or two, but it was Payton that obviously stood out.
Our football coach gathered a few of us up, told us to stick around after the game, and he would take us to meet the Chicago Bears.
Of course I stuck around, Coach Dunn took us into our locker room and introduced us to the Bears players as they were getting dressed.
It was a little awkward, but the Bears players were all gracious. And now I'll always have my naked Walter Payton story.
So now it's your turn... Have you ever met any Chicago Bears? Fill us in on your story in the comment section...
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