Former Bears linebacker Doug Buffone, who passed away April 20, would have turned 71 on Saturday. We're celebrating his memory by talking to some of his former teammates.
"Doug was indeed special," said ex-defensive tackle Jim Osborne, who played eight seasons with Buffone from 1972-79. "It kind of breaks my heart to think about him being gone."
Buffone spent his entire NFL career with the Bears, playing 14 seasons from 1966-79, which is tied with linebacker Bill George for second most in team history behind long-snapper Patrick Mannelly (16).
Buffone was selected by the Bears in the fourth round of the 1966 draft out of Louisville, arriving one year after Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus. The two played side-by-side for eight seasons.
Buffone's 24 interceptions remain the most in Bears history among linebackers, ahead of both Butkus and future Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher, who had 22 apiece.
"Doug was always a guy who had a big smile on his face," said former running back Ronnie Bull, Buffone's teammate from 1966-70. "[He was] easy going and that's the reason everybody liked him. No one had a bad word to say about Doug."