The Bears have a long history of great defense. While they've historically been known for linebackers and defensive linemen they also have a vaulted history of great defensive backs.
From George McAfee to Richie Petitbon to Doug Plank and Gary Fencik to Rosey Taylor and Terry Schmidt all the way up to Charles Tillman, the Bears have had some great defensive backs.
Picking a favorite is actually pretty tough for me because my time really getting into the Bears coincided with Charles Tillman's rookie year. In my opinion, Charles Tillman is the greatest defensive back to ever wear a Bears uniform.
I was late to the Tillman praise party though, I hate to admit. He frustrated me in the early years because he seemed so up and down. Whenever he would slip I would put it on him instead of the God-awful Soldier Field turf. But as my football acumen grew I came to realize what a great player he is.
But best and favorite are two completely different things. While Tillman is, in my opinion, the best, my favorite defensive back of all time to wear a Bears uniform is Mike Brown.
Good ole No. 30.
Brown was an immediate starter but he wasn't a household name until the magical 2001 season, weeks six and seven.
In back to back games, in overtime, Mike Brown returned interceptions for touchdowns to end the game.
Brown wasn't just a ballhawk; his seven career defensive touchdowns was a Bears record until Tillman broke it, he wasn't just a hard hitter; he recorded at least 50 stops every season he was with the Bears and played over six game; he was a complete football player. He also wasn't showy. He was a quiet guy, he was the perfect Robin to Brian Urlacher's Batman. As the defense built itself up through the 2000s with the additions of Lance Briggs and Alex Brown and Tillman, Brown and Urlacher were the first faces of it.
In 2006 when Brown went out for the season, I just felt, deep down inside, I knew that the Bears were not going to win the Super Bowl. Brown was such a great run stuffer, the difference in the run defense was monumental. Look at the rushing yards that 2006 surrendered after week 6 when he sustained his season-ending injury.
He was an incredibly fun player to watch and it was a shame that injuries got the better of him and cut his career short. I would argue that he was the last all-around safety the Bears had: great in run support, great in coverage and he had a knack for making plays and scoring touchdowns. Consider that in 100 career Bears games he had 24 turnovers (17 interceptions plus seven fumble recoveries) and seven touchdowns. One in roughly every three turnovers he had he took to pay dirt. That is incredible.
That's enough of me glowing over Brown though, who is your all-time favorite defensive back?