Best Bears Safety, 1977-2007

So we’ve nibbled around the positions with punter, guard, center and defensive tackle covered to this point.? Not much controversy yet.? But safety is getting to one of those positions for which Bear fans have a lot of passion, and I’m sure we’ll spark some disagreement with at least one of these choices.

Candidates:? Todd Bell (1981-1984, 1986-1987); Mike Brown (2000-2007); Dave Duerson (1983-1989); Doug Plank (1975-1982); Tony Parrish (1998-2001); Len Walterscheid (1977-1982)

Len Waltersheid drops off the list first as our seventh-best safety.? He was acquired as a free agent in 1977 and a solid backup.? The Buddy Ryan favorite started in 1982 following the departure of Plank, and Dave Duerson ended up forever in Ryan’s doghouse after Ryan was instructed to cut Waltershied, after the arrival of Duerson.

We have a tie at number 6.? It’s between Tony Parrish and Todd Bell.? Though separated by 17 years of draft classes, the two played the position remarkably similar.? Both were huge hitters, but Bell probably had more range.? Bell may have turned into the best on this list, but infamously sat out the 1985 season in a contract dispute, after having a career year in 1984.? He returned in ’86 and ’87, but just wasn’t the same.? Bell died in 2005, and Parrish left the Bears as a free agent prior to the 2002 season.

Doug Plank is our fifth best Bears safety.? Plank will always be a Bear legend for his ferocious hits and fever for the game.? His career was cut short by injury, ending in 1982.

Dave Duerson comes in at fourth.? The strong safety made the Pro Bowl in four straight seasons from 1985-1988, then tailed off and was cut prior to the 1990 season.

At number three is Shaun Gayle.? Gayle didn’t have the statistics or as many Pro Bowl appearances as Duerson, but his longevity (1984-1994) for an eleventh-round draft pick was phenomenal.? In the last two seasons of Mike Ditka’s reign, Gayle was on the sidelines in Chicago’s first two games of the year, and his presence became very noticable when he returned.? He made the Pro Bowl himself in 1991.

Finally, the legendary Gary Fencik edges out current Bear Mike Brown for top billing at the position.? Brown’s impact to the Bear defense since his arrival in 2000 is remarkable.? Chicago’s defense clearly has not been the same when he has been forced from the lineup due to injury from 2004-2006.? He owns the Bears’ record for touchdowns by a defender with seven.

But Fencik remains one of our choices for best Bear to not be in the Hall of Fame.? He is still Chicago’s all-time interceptor and leads the franchise for interception return yards.? And he didn’t just pick off passes, he packed a whollop of his own, often blitzing in Ryan’s 46 defense with devastating results for opposing offenses.

www.BearsHistory.com’s best Bears safety of the last 30 years is Gary Fencik.

2 Responses to “Best Bears Safety, 1977-2007”

  1. Where’s Mark Carrier? He played 6 years with the Bears, won defensive ROY and made 3 Pro Bowls.

  2. Why isn’t Gary Fencik No.45 and Doug Plank No.46 named as two Canidates for The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio?? While Doug Plank had the “46″ Defense” named after him because of his Number that he wore an the Amazing Stats for Both of These Players they were Both such Awesome Hitters AND THEY WERE KNOWN AS “THEE HITMEN” . Thee Opposing teams All knew when Doug Plank No.46 and Gary Fencik No.45 were playing because they got their butts kicked by these Two Fine Great Football Players an there Shouldn’t EVEN BE A QUESTION ASKED ABOUT EXCEPTING THESE TWO FINE FOOTBALL PLAYERS INTO THE PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME. THEY BOTH SHOULD BE ENSHRINED NOT JUST ONE OF THEM. BECAUSE PLAYERS OF THAT CLAIBUR COME ALONG ONCE IN A LIFETIME. AFTERALL, They WERE KNOWN AS THEE HITMEN WHEN DOUG PLANK NO.46 AN GARY FENCIK NO. 45 WERE PLAYING. PLEASE RECONSIDER THESE TWO AWESOME GREAT FOOTBALL PLAYERS OF THE CHICAGO BEARS FOR THE PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME IN CANTON, OHIO. I MISS SEEING BOTH OF THEM ON THE FIELD THEY WERE TRUE ROLE MODELS AND IT WOULD TRULY MAKE THE PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME SOMETHING TO BE SO PROUD OF BY ENSHRINING BOTH OF THESE ALL TIME GREAT FOOTBALL PLAYERS. DOUG PLANK NO.46 AN GARY FENCIK NO.45 ARE TRULY HALL OF FAMERS FOR THE PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME BECAUSE NO ONE HIT LIKE DOUG PLANK NO.46 AN GARY FENCIK NO.45 EVER DID WHILE THEY PLAYED FOR THE CHICAGO BEARS ORGANIZATION. THE 46 DEFENSE CAN”T BE SURPASSED. DOUG PLANK NO.46 AN GARY FENCIK NO.45 WERE TWO OF THE ALL TIME GREATEST IN THE NFL. PLEASE CONSIDER THEM BOTH, AN ENSHRINE THEM BOTH IN THE PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME. Thank You , Hughie Fawcett Greensburg,PA lkyspgot57@aol.com

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