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The Greatest Bears by Number (40-44)

This will be the easiest post I write in this series, bar none. Seriously, we have three consecutive numbers retired in this sequence so I only have to look up two numbers. That's what I call a win! Follow me below the jump and we'll explore the wonderful 40s, that have been kind to our Bears, giving us  the greatest QB in our team's history, the youngest member of the Pro-Football Hall of Fame and his teammate whose career and life was cut tragically short. Onward friends!

Pretty straight forward post from my perspective. I have said all along, if the players number is retired he'll get the nod. This is the only post I'll write with three consecutive retired numbers. It also makes it easy that their numbers were retired relatively early on in team history so before them no one of note toted that particular number. The other two numbers though, 43 and 44 really didn't turn up a whole lot of gems as far as players go but I was able to fill them with players who definitely contributed and made an impact for the team. Including one guy who hails from my ala mater. Yes, I'm a bit biased but I wouldn't have chosen him if his stats couldn't justify it.

40 - Gale Sayers, RB (1965-71): The Kansas Comet, who else would it be? The guy scored 22 TDs as a rookie, including six at a muddy Wrigley Field against the 49ers. He was a four-time Pro-Bowler and a five-time first team All-Pro. He was lightning in a bottle and known for his toughness as much as his grace on the field. He famously returned from a devastating knee injury to have an 1,000 yard season long before modern knee surgery practices. His career YPC was 5.0.

41 - Brian Piccolo, FB (1966-69): He will forever be tied to the man above because of the movie Brian's Song. While his career looks somewhat sub par, only 927 career yards and four TDs in only four seasons but his life was cut short when he got an aggressive form of embryonal carcinoma, which ended his life at age 26.

42 - Sid Luckman, QB (1939-50): He owns every career passing record except for attempts in Bears history. Considered to be the greatest T-formation quarterback in history, Halas hand-picked him coming out of Columbia as the man to lead his offensive creation. He led the Bears to four championships in the 1940s and was elected to three Pro-Bowls and was a five-time First Team All-Pro selection. This Hall of Famer also has his number retired.

43 - Jim Dooley, WR (1952-61): While he later coached the Bears, which weren't very good teams, he also played for the Bears for eight seasons. While he didn't appear in any Pro-Bowls or anything it's safe to say he was a much better player than coach. He had 211 career receptions for 3,172 yards and 16 TDs. He led the Bears in receiving yards three times.

44 - Terry Schmidt, CB (1976-84): There have been some unique names to wear 44 including Brock Forsey, Ray Richards, Bob Margarita, Frank Szymanski and a WD Garrett. Also, interestingly college football coach Mike Stoops donned it for his one year with the Bears in '87. Anyway, none of these guys had an impact for the team so I went with Schmidt who played nine seasons for the Bears. He is a Ball State alum, just like Brad Maynard, Jon Hoke, Ashley Czuba and yours truly. He appeared in 121 games and started 77 of those. He tallied 21 INTs, returned for two TDs and 3 fumble recoveries. Not bad at all.

The rest of the series:

Numbers 00-4

Numbers 5-9

Numbers 10-14

Numbers 15-19

Numbers 20-24

Numbers 25-29

Numbers 30-34

Numbers 35-39