Now that the 55 greatest games series that turned into something more like 59 greatest games is over, we can get back to posting on more current events.
Today I read that former Bears running back Johnny Bailey, who was with the team in 1990 and 1991, has died from pancreatic cancer at the age of 43. For someone that’s approaching 40 and a relative peer in age to Bailey, that is sad and scary. I did not know he was ill.
Bailey is still in the Bear record books for his 95-yard punt return for a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs on December 29, 1990. I was at that game in the far end zone (the end zone to which he was running), and got to see the Chiefs part like the Red Sea during the return. I liked Bailey’s stuff even though he was only a reserve running back and special-teamer. Sounds very corny, but he was the reason I donned #22 on my college intramural football jerseys.
If my memory serves me correctly, Bailey fumbled/muffed punts several times in 1990 and in the 1991 preseason, earning himself a spot in Mike Ditka’s doghouse, and he was cut several weeks into the ’91 regular season. He would make the Pro Bowl following his 1992 season with the Cardinals.
Thoughts and prayers are with Bailey’s family.