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 1916, Lee Artoe was born. Selected by the Bears in the 11th round of the 1940 draft out of California, he had a brief but highly successful career in Chicago that was interrupted by World War II. A tackle and kicker, Artoe helped the Bears win NFL championships in 1940 and 1941. In the 1942 title game, Artoe scored the Bears' only points in a 14-6 loss to the Redskins, returning a fumble 52 yards for a touchdown. The 6-3, 234-pounder left the Bears after the 1942 season to serve in the U.S. Navy as a member of the Underwater Demolition Team. Artoe rejoined the Bears for one season in 1945. He passed away on April 1, 2005 at the age of 88.
In 1997, the Bears moved to Halas Hall at Conway Park in Lake Forest. The complex is named after Pro Football Hall of Famer George Halas. "Papa Bear" helped found the team and the NFL in 1920, was named to the NFL All-Decade Team for the 1920s as a Bears player, and served as their head coach for 40 seasons, setting an NFL record that has since been broken with 324 wins.
In 1953, hard-hitting safety Doug Plank was born. Selected by the Bears in the 12th round of the 1975 draft out of Ohio State, Plank played all eight of his NFL seasons in Chicago from 1975-82. One of the most popular Bears players of his era, Plank appeared in 101 games with 96 starts and recorded 15 interceptions and 14 forced fumbles.
In 2010, the Bears made a huge free-agent splash by signing defensive end Julius Peppers. Peppers was named first-team All-Pro in 2010 when he helped the Bears win the NFC North with an 11-5 record and was voted to the Pro Bowl in each of his first three seasons in Chicago. He tied for the Bears' lead with 8.0 sacks in 2010 and then topped the defense with 11.0 sacks in 2011, 11.5 in 2012 and 7.5 in 2013. Peppers spent four of his 17 NFL seasons with the Bears, starting all 64 games during that span and registering 37.5 sacks, 47 tackles-for-loss, three interceptions, 10 forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries. He also scored a touchdown on a 42-yard fumble return in a 40-23 win over the Steelers on Sept. 22, 2013.
In 1991, left tackle Herman Lee passed away at the age of 59. Lee spent nine of his 10 NFL seasons with the Bears from 1958-66, playing in 119 games with 115 starts. Lee started all 14 games at left tackle for the Bears in 1963 when they won the NFL championship.
In 1927, running back/return specialist Eddie Macon was born. Macon became the first African-American player in Bears history in 1952. Macon was selected by the Bears in the second round of the 1952 draft out of Pacific and appeared in 23 games over two seasons. He averaged 30.5 yards on 22 kickoff returns and 5.9 yards on 24 punt returns while also rushing for 324 yards and two touchdowns on 70 carries and catching 14 passes for 49 yards and 2 TDs. Macon passed away on April 19, 2017 at the age of 90.
In 1962, safety Shaun Gayle was born. Selected by the Bears in the 10th round of the 1984 draft out of Ohio State, Gayle played in 144 games with 92 starts over 11 seasons with the Bears from 1984-94. He recorded 14 interceptions, 11 forced fumbles and 11 fumble recoveries. Gayle played predominantly on special teams for the 1985 Super Bowl XX championship team. In a 21-0 win over the Giants in a divisional playoff game at Soldier Field, he picked up a punt that the Giants' Sean Landetta had whiffed on and returned it five yards for a touchdown.