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Bears host first Alumni Golf Outing

More than 50 years of Bears history came to life Monday in Kenosha, Wis., as the team hosted its inaugural Alumni Golf Outing at The Club at Strawberry Creek.  

Nearly 30 former Bears attended the event, including six members of the famed 1985 team that crushed the New England Patriots 46-10 in Super Bowl XX.

"There's no other team in the NFL that supports their alumni and tries to do things for their alumni like the Bears do," said Tom Andrews, a Bears offensive lineman in 1984-85. "I talk to a lot of players throughout the country and they're just amazed at how much effort that the folks here in Chicago put into these type of events. I think it's fantastic and I wouldn't have missed it."

The inaugural Chicago Bears Alumni Golf Outing was held Monday at The Club at Strawberry Creek.

Other players from the 1985 team on hand Monday were Hall of Famer Dan Hampton, Dennis McKinnon, Steve McMichael, Jim Morrissey and Jay Hilgenberg, who co-owns Strawberry Creek.

"It's so gracious of the Bears to have an event like this, with the alumni coming together," Hilgenberg said. "It's really special. I don't think there's another NFL team that does anything like this."

A rain delay pushed the start time of Monday's outing back an hour, affording the former players extra time to reminisce and catch up with one another.

"This event and things like this with the alumni are actually pretty good," said James Thornton, a Bears tight end from 1988-92, "because sometimes people pop up that you haven't seen for a while and that's the great thing; somebody comes in from out of town that you haven't seen for a while and you get to visit. That's the best part of these."

Bears alumni from the 1970s who attended the golf outing included Brian Baschnagel, Jim Osborne, Roland Harper, Bob Parsons and Bob Thomas. Among those on hand who played more recently were Adrian Peterson, John Thierry, Mark Green, Donnell Woolford, Jerry Azumah and Ahmad Merritt.

"This is really fantastic," said Osborne, a Bears defensive tackle from 1972-84. "It's amazing when you've played the game and been in the locker room, especially for as many years as I played, you have that bond. A lot of guys, when they leave, when they retire, they go to their corner and some of the guys unfortunately you never see again.

"But when they come to an event like this, it's like a throwback to the old days and you're back in the locker room. Nothing else replaces being in the locker room except something like this. This is about as close as we can get to it."

The lone member of the Bears' 1963 championship team who attended the golf outing was Ronnie Bull, a running back from 1962-70.

"We don't get to see each other that often," Bull said. "A chance to get together like this and trade stories is great. You're always a step faster, you hit a little harder and the runs are longer. It's a lot of fun."

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