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Former Bears great Johnny Lujack passes away


Former Bears star quarterback Johnny Lujack passed away Tuesday in Florida after a brief illness at the age of 98. 

Lujack was selected by the Bears with the fourth pick in the first round of the 1946 NFL Draft out of Notre Dame, where he won the Heisman Trophy. 

Lujack played all four of his NFL seasons with the Bears from 1948-51, appearing in 45 games with 32 starts and passing for 6,295 yards and 41 touchdowns. He also played on defense—registering 12 career interceptions, including eight that he returned for 131 yards as a rookie in 1948—and served as the team's kicker, making 130 of 136 extra-point attempts. 

In 1949, Lujack led the NFL in all passing categories with 162 completions, 312 attempts, 2,658 yards and 23 TDs. In the 1949 season finale, he threw for 468 yards and six touchdowns in a 52-21 win over the Chicago Cardinals. The 468 yards remain the most by a quarterback in Bears history. 

Lujack was named to the Pro Bowl in 1950 and 1951 and was voted first-team All-Pro in 1950 when he threw for 1,731 yards and rushed for 397 yards and a league-high 11 touchdowns. 

Lujack joined the Bears after leading Notre Dame to national championships in 1943, 1946 and 1947. He played for the Fighting Irish in 1942-43, served two years in the Navy during World War II and then returned to Notre Dame for the 1946 and 1947 seasons. Lujack won the Heisman Trophy in 1947 and was the oldest living Heisman Trophy winner at the time of his death. 

He retired from the NFL after four seasons with the Bears to return to Notre Dame as an assistant coach under Frank Leahy. After two years in that role, Lujack spent the next 30-plus years operating an automobile dealership in Davenport, Iowa.