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Chalk Talk

Chalk Talk: Who were Bears' top 2-way stars?

Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.

Who were the best Bears' two-way players ever in your opinion?
Adam H.
Fargo, North Dakota

There were a handful of Bears Hall of Famers who, while excelling at their primary positions, also performed well on the other side of the ball. My list starts with Sid Luckman, who helped revolutionize the NFL by operating the T-formation and quarterbacking the Bears to four NFL championships from 1940-46 in the process. Luckman also played defensive back, registering 17 career interceptions. To put that in perspective, that's the same number of picks that Pro Bowl safety Mike Brown recorded in nine seasons with the Bears. Coincidentally, Clyde "Bulldog" Turner also intercepted 17 passes while playing linebacker for the Bears from 1940-52. In the Bears' 73-0 win over the Redskins in the 1940 NFL Championship Game, Turner intercepted a Sammy Baugh pass and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown. Turner, however, was known more for his play on offense at center, earning first-team All-Pro honors eight times. Other great two-way players in Bears history included running back/defensive back Red Grange, fullback/defensive lineman Bronko Nagurski and guard/defensive lineman Danny Fortmann.  

While your Mount Rushmore of Bears can't really be debated, I wonder who you would put on a second and third Mount Rushmore of all-time Bears.
Kirk L.
Rathdrum, Idaho

For those of you who missed it in a previous "Chalk Talk," my Mount Rushmore of all-time Bears consists of George Halas, Dick Butkus, Mike Ditka and Walter Payton. To answer your question, my second quartet of Mount Rushmore Bears would include Hall of Famers Sid Luckman, Gale Sayers, Red Grange and Bronko Nagurski. My third team would be comprised of Bill George, Bulldog Turner, Buddy Ryan and Devin Hester. I'd pick Ryan because he was the architect of some of the best defenses in NFL history including a unit in 1985 that is widely considered at the top of that list. And I'd choose Hester because he is simply the greatest return specialist in league history.

As a proud Decatur resident, I always wondered why the Bears never considered the 1919 season as an official season in their records.
Dawn S.
Decatur, Illinois

In their inaugural season in 1919, the Decatur Staleys were not a professional team. They were an amateur squad that consisted solely of employees of the A.E. Staley Manufacturing Company in Decatur. They did, however, win the Central Illinois championship with a 6-1 record. Among the teams they played in 1919 were the Peoria Tractors, the Rantoul Aviators and the Champaign Eleven. In 1920, under the direction of player/coach George Halas, the Staleys joined the newly-formed American Professional Football Association, which was renamed the National Football League in 1922. The Staleys finished second in the APFA in 1920 with a 10-1-2 record.

Chalk Talk features fan questions multiple times each week. Email your question to Larry.

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