One of the most rousing parts of the recent Bears 100th celebration was the defensive line panel discussion, during which past great Chicago Bears players called out this year’s defense and challenged the 2019 Bears to win the Super Bowl.
The panel, moderated by former Bears offensive lineman/center Tom Thayer included current Bear defensive lineman Akiem Hicks, as well as former Bears Bears DL greats Ed O’Bradovich, Chris Zorich, Tommie Harris and Hall Of Famer Dan Hampton.
You can see the entire conference in the video below:
Perhaps the most fired up panel member early was O’Bradovich, who talked about how narrow the championship window can be in the NFL, and then challenged the current Bears to seize the opportunity at hand to bring another Super Bowl home to Chicago.
“The chicago bears are the footing and foundation of the national football league,” O’Bradovich stated. “Since 1946... we’ve won the world championship twice, ‘63 and in ‘85. Enough is enough.”
”I think what I see today,” he continued, “in this coaching staff, and I see the enthusiasm with this young team... they better come and they better get it, because I’ll tell you what, folks... you are not going to see these guys playing at this level for five years, seven years, ten years. It’s not going to happen.”
The championship window is there right now, according to O’Bradovich. “It’s in front of them, they better see it, and I like the Bears a lot...” “It’s up to those kids.”
After O’Bradovich finished, Hicks turned to him with a smile and said “You’ve got my blood boiling right now, look I’m sorry, I’m juiced up, I’m ready to go play right now...”
There were many great moments for all who attended the event to see, but perhaps the most stirring came later on from Tommie Harris.
“The reason we love football so much is it endures,” panel member and former Bears defensive lineman Harris told Hicks. “It teaches you how to constantly keep going after something. It’s the overcomer’s sport.”
“It’s to encourage those that work a 9 to 5 all day to have something to come home to,” he continued, “to cheer for a team; to get you out of bed, make new friends at a bar, meet new people and ( make ) connections. It’s why I played it and why I love the city of Chicago.”
Looking directly at Hicks, Harris said “When you win, it takes all the crap that’s going on in your life … and it takes a load off of people in their day to day lives, Know that you’re putting ( out ) entertainment. You’re inspiring people that are working their butts off all day laboring somewhere. When you put your helmet, know that the city is behind you.”
Anyone still seated in the crowd rose for an ovation. Hicks lifted his microphone to his mouth and paused.
“I accept all of your challenges,” Hicks told Harris and the panel.
“For this defense that we have here right now, you weren’t lying for a second,” Hicks continued. “We have some of the most ferocious, most talented, most aggressive, high-spirited, fun-loving, love-the-game-of-football guys that I’ve ever been around. For us not to take advantage of this moment that we have in front of us right now, we would be doing ourselves, you gentlemen up here and this city a disservice. We are going to take care of business.”