Dick Butkus, the 1983 College Football Hall of Fame inductee who starred at linebacker for the Fighting Illini from 1962 to 1964 and became a Bears legend and Pro Football Hall of Famer in his nine-year career, which started in 1965 passed away today at his home in Malibu, California. He was 80.
A two-time All-American, including unanimous honors in 1963 and consensus in 1964, Butkus earned a reputation in college as a devastating linebacker for Illinois, playing with intensity and desire. According to his coach, Pete Elliott, Butkus, "...never took a loafing step, including warm-ups, practices and games. The middle linebacker was a vicious tackler whose intimidating presence put some players on their heels before the ball was even snapped."
In Pro Football, he made the Pro Bowl in eight of his nine seasons, but a chronic knee injury abruptly ended his career in 1974 at age 31.
Butkus finished his career with 1,020 tackles and 22 interceptions. He was named first team All-Pro five times, won the George Halas Award in 1974 and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1979.
He also was named to the NFL's all-decade teams in the 1960s and 1970s and is a member of the league's 75th and 100th anniversary all-time teams.