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This week in Bears history: March 23-29


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:

March 23
In 1987, former receiver Earl Bennett was born. Bennett was selected by the Bears in the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft out of Vanderbilt, where he became the SEC's all-time leader with 236 receptions, a record that has since been broken. Bennett played his entire six-year NFL career with the Bears, appearing in 78 games with 29 starts and catching 185 passes for 2,277 yards and 12 touchdowns.

March 24
In 1990, inside linebacker Danny Trevathan was born. Trevathan, who will enter his fifth season with the Bears after signing a three-year contract earlier this month, has been a productive and highly-respected team leader since joining the team in 2016. Trevathan has appeared in 46 games with 45 starts and recorded 327 tackles, six sacks, three interceptions, 15 tackles-for-loss, 16 pass breakups, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He was named a Pro Bowl alternate in 2018 when he helped the Bears win the NFC North title with a 12-4 record. Starting all 16 games, he compiled 102 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions and a career-high eight tackles-for-loss.

March 25
In 1956, the Bears signed their eighth-round draft pick, center Dominic "Dick" Klawitter. Standing 6-7 and weighing 282 pounds, Klawitter was among the largest players of his era. He played just one season with the Bears, appearing in five games for a team that won the Western Conference title but lost to the New York Giants in the NFL Championship Game. He was a Chicago native, having attended Bowen High School on the city's southside before playing collegiately at South Dakota State. Klawitter passed away on Dec. 11, 1977 at the age of 48.

March 26
In 1987, George Halas was inducted into the National Business Hall of Fame, an entity sponsored by Forbes Magazine and Junior Achievement. Among the other five inductees was Firestone founder Harvey Firestone. Halas founded the Bears as the Decatur Staleys in 1920 and helped create what would become the NFL. Papa Bear was instrumental in the growth of the fledgling league, helping it blossom from humble beginnings into a multi-billion dollar industry and staple of American culture.

March 27
In 1960, former tight end Tim Wrightman was born. Chosen by the Bears in the third round of the 1982 draft out of UCLA, Wrightman first played in the USFL with the Chicago Blitz and Arizona Wranglers in 1983-84 before joining the Bears in 1985, the season they won Super Bowl XX. Wrightman spent two years with the Bears, catching 46 passes for 648 yards and one touchdown while appearing in 32 games with three starts.

March 28
In 1930, former linebacker Joe Fortunato was born. Selected by the Bears in the seventh round of the 1952 draft out of Mississippi State, he played his entire 12-year NFL career in Chicago from 1955-66. Fortunato was voted to five Pro Bowls, selected first- or second-team All-Pro six times and was named to the NFL All-Decade Team for the 1950s. He helped the Bears win the 1963 NFL championship and immediately joined the team's coaching staff upon retiring following the 1966 season. Fortunato passed away on Nov. 6, 2017 at the age of 87.

March 29
In 1968, former right tackle James "Big Cat" Williams was born. Williams played his entire 12-year NFL career with the Bears from 1991-2002, appearing in 166 games with 143 starts. An undrafted free agent from Cheyney State, he played in 14 games as a reserve defensive tackle in 1991 before being moved to offensive tackle midway through the 1992 season. Williams never missed a game over his final nine years with the Bears and was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2001 after helping the team win the NFC Central title with a 13-3 record.