With the NFL set to celebrate its 100th birthday on Sept. 17, 2020, here's a look at what transpired this week in Bears history:
In 1927, former Bears offensive line coach Dick Stanfel was born. Stanfel served in that role for 12 seasons from 1981-92, coaching some of the best offensive lines in NFL history. During Stanfel's tenure, the Bears won six NFC Central titles, one NFC championship and one Super Bowl. As a player, Stanfel was a Hall of Fame guard during a seven-year NFL career with the Lions (1952-55) and Redskins (1956-58). He was named first-team All-Pro five times, voted to five Pro Bowls, selected to the NFL All-Decade Team for the 1950s and enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 2016. Stanfel passed away on June 22, 2015 at the age of 87.
In 1996, Bears receiver Riley Ridley was born. Selected by the Bears in the fourth round of the 2019 draft out of Georgia, Ridley played in the final five games of his rookie season, catching six passes for 69 yards, including three receptions for 54 yards in the season finale in Minnesota. In June, receivers coach Mike Furrey predicted that "the biggest growth we're going to see from anybody in our room is going to be Riley Ridley."
In 2016, cornerback Charles Tillman signed a one-day contract and officially retired as a member of the Bears. In 12 seasons, the 2003 second-round pick from Louisiana-Lafayette set team records with nine defensive touchdowns, eight interception return TDs and 675 interception return yards. His 36 interceptions are the most by a cornerback in Bears history and third most overall behind safeties Gary Fencik (38) and Richie Petitbon (37). Known for smacking the ball away from opponents, a technique dubbed the "Peanut Punch," Tillman forced 42 fumbles with the Bears, including a career-high 10 in 2012 when he was voted to his second straight Pro Bowl.
In 1993, Bears defensive end Roy Robertson-Harris was born. Since arriving in Chicago in 2016 as an undrafted free agent from UTEP, Robertson-Harris has appeared in 44 games with seven starts—all last year—and registered 65 tackles, 7.5 sacks and eight tackles-for-loss.
In 1962, former kicker Kevin Butler was born. Chosen by the Bears in the fourth round of the 1985 draft out of Georgia, Butler set an NFL rookie record with 144 points for the Super Bowl XX champions and left the Bears after 11 seasons as the franchise's all-time leading scorer with 1,116 points, a record that has since been surpassed by Robbie Gould.
In 1954, former superstar running back Walter Payton was born. Selected by the Bears with the fourth pick in the first round of the 1975 draft out of Jackson State, Payton spent his entire 13-year NFL career in Chicago. Considered by many to be the greatest player in Bears history, "Sweetness" was voted to nine Pro Bowls, set the NFL rushing record with 16,726 yards and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1993 in his first year of eligibility. He was also named to the NFL All-Decade Team for both the 1970s and 1980s. Payton passed away due to bile duct cancer on Nov. 1, 1999 at the age of 45.
In 1995, Bears running back Tarik Cohen was born. Chosen by the Bears in the fourth round of the 2017 draft out of North Carolina A&T, Cohen has played in 48 games with 22 starts over four seasons. He has rushed for 1,027 yards and five touchdowns on 250 carries, caught 203 passes for 1,534 yards and nine TDs, completed 2 of 3 passes for 22 yards and two touchdowns, and averaged 10.4 yards with one TD on 95 punt returns and 20.9 yards on 30 kickoff returns. Cohen was named first-team All-Pro and voted to the Pro Bowl as a punt returner in 2018.