Clyde "Bulldog" Turner began his Hall Of Fame career with the Chicago Bears in 1940, when he was the 7th player chosen in the first round out of Hardin-Simmons college. When George Halas made the selection, I'm sure he hoped he had plucked a great player; he may not have realized that he was picking a player that would go on to become one of the most decorated Chicago Bears in the history of the franchise.
"Bulldog Turner was the best football player and smartest player I ever knew in my whole life," said Bears end George Connor. "He could do everything."
Turner played 13 seasons of iron man football, all in Chicago; he was a four time NFL Champion, a four time Pro Bowler, and seven times he was named 1st Team All Pro. His number 66 is retired by the Bears, and he was elected to the Pro Football Hall Of Fame in 1966.
One memorable Turner play occurred during a 1947 game between the Bears and the Washington Redskins. Turner intercepted legendary quarterback Sammy Baugh's pass near the Bears' end zone, then put on a burst of speed, escaped most Redskin tackling threats and culminated the play with a Chicago touchdown 96 yards later with Baugh hanging on his back trying to bring him down.
Texas Tech University Press will be publishing, "Remembering Bulldog Turner: Unsung Monster of the Midway", written by Michael Barr, to shine light on a Chicago Bears icon that may be overlooked in the celebrated history of the Bears.
"I knew everybody's assignments and I could play every position on the field," Turner said.
Turner played offensive line, linebacker, and special teams. He rarely left the field of play, and was a true 60 minute man. The Bears have a great lineage of linebacking throughout history, but Turner is often overlooked. Before Bill George stepped back from his middle guard position in 1954, thus inventing the middle linebacker, Bulldog was playing linebacker for the Bears. Turner intercepted four passes in five NFL Championship games, his eight picks led the league in 1942, and he had 17 interceptions in his 13 year career.
Bulldog was my closest friend during my pro football years, both on and off the field. He was a great guy, an outstanding player, and the smartest coach on the field during the games. He ran the defensive plays, knowing what to do even before the coaches did.
--Ed Sprinkle, former teammate, Chicago Bears
There may have never been a tougher player to lace 'em up for the Chicago Bears. His work ethic and hard nosed attitude epitomizes what the Monsters Of The Midway is all about.
A Texan to the soul, Turner was the son of a cowboy, born in a cabin on a ranch, took up the national sport of the state, and when he walked away from football, he took up the romantic profession of the state. Both the football sport and the ranching profession were tougher than the movies made them out to be, and Turner had to stay tough his whole life to get by. Yet those were the worlds he chose and he said he never regretted it.
For more on Clyde "Bulldog" Turner, you can pick up the book here.
And for more on Turner from WCG, you can check out Steve Ronkowski's Pulaski Day Special: All-Time, All-Polish Bears Team, and of course be sure to peruse our entire Bears History Section.
More from Windy City Gridiron:
- WCG Pick 'Em: Week 4
- The Bears Den: September 25, 2013 - Week 4 news and notes
- Bears-Steelers Analysis: Debunking the double-teamed Julius Peppers myth
- Following Julius Peppers - Week 3: Bears at Steelers
- NFL Power Rankings: The Chicago Bears are top five
- The Bears Den: September 24, 2013 - Week 4 news and notes
- Ten Thoughts on the NFL: Chicago Bears and beyond
- Poll Of The Day: You grade the Bears performance vs the Steelers