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Former Bears QB Bob Avellini passes away


Former Bears quarterback Bob Avellini passed away Saturday at the age of 70.

Arriving in 1975 as a sixth-round draft pick out of Maryland, Avellini spent 10 seasons with the Bears, appearing in 73 games with 50 starts, passing for 7,111 yards and 33 touchdowns. He was chosen in the same draft as Walter Payton and played his entire Bears career with the Hall of Fame running back.

Avellini started all 14 games in 1976 and 1977 and the first 12 contests in 1978. He established career highs in 1977 with 11 touchdowns, 2,004 yards and a 61.3 passer rating in helping the Bears make the playoffs for the first time since winning the NFL championship in 1963. They earned a wild card berth by winning their final six games after a 3-5 start.

The signature play of Avellini's career came Nov. 13, 1977, when he threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to tight end Greg Latta with :03 remaining to give the Bears a 28-27 win over the Chiefs at Soldier Field.

"Bob was one-of-a-kind; a fierce and tough competitor," the Bears said in a statement. "He's perhaps best remembered for leading the Bears on an improbable run in 1977 to our first postseason appearance in 14 years. He will be missed."