Bears HOF Doug Atkins passes

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Doug Atkins Bears HOF

Doug Atkins Bears HOF

One of professional football’s first feared pass rushers, former Chicago Bear Doug Atkins, died Wednesday. He was 85.

Atkins, with his Paul Bunyan appearance, used his size and strength to dominate offensive lineman in the late 1950’s-early 60’s, right before the NFL entered its Golden Age and became America’s favorite sport.

Known as one of the game’s toughest and fiercest competitors, Atkins lined up with fellow Hall of Famers such as MLB’s Bill George and later Dick Butkus on Bears founder George Halas’s last great defense.

Bears Chairman George McCaskey released the following statement upon receiving the news of Atkins death. “Doug Atkins is an all-time great who will be remembered as one of the pillars of the 1963 Championship Bears. He had a freakish combination of size and athletic ability and was as tough as anyone who ever stepped on a football field. Doug wasn’t afraid to offer his opinion off the field as well and had a unique communication style when it came to interacting with Coach Halas. He embodied the spirit and commitment of what it means to be a Bear.Our prayers are with Doug’s wife, Sylvia, and their family.”

Over 17 NFL seasons, including 12 with the Bears (1955-66), Atkins was an eight-time Pro Bowler (1958-64 & ’66), a two-time NFL Champion (1954 with Cleveland and 1963 with Chicago) and a 1960’s All-Decade team selection. During the Bears 1963 NFL Championship season he was a unanimous choice (AP, UPI and NEA) all-Pro selection.

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He was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1982 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1985.

Bear Tracks: In on the field news, the Bears placed both WR Alshon Jeffery and rookie DL Eddie Goldman on the injured reserve list. The move ends Jeffery’s frustrating season in which he played just 9 games. Though productive when healthy, the Bears face a major d

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ecision as Jeffery heads into free agency. It’s expected the club will place a franchise tag on him to retain his rights if a long-term deal can’t be reached.

Meanwhile, Goldman wraps up a largely successful rookie season in which he was a solid, if unspectacular contributor. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio commented that Goldman’s progress throughout the year can be something he can build upon heading into 2016.

Signed to the active roster in their place were DL Paul Scruggs, a former Seahawk, and Terry Williams, who had some impressive moments for the Bears during training camp and the preseason.

 

 

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