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NFL selects two Chicago Bears to Pro Football Hall of Fame

LEFT TO RIGHT: Devin Hester and Steve McMichael

In recent news, the NFL announced former Bears defensive lineman Steve McMichael and wide receiver/return specialist Devin Hester have been selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

According to the Chicago Bears, the organization now has 40 members enshrined in Canton, 32 who primarily spent their careers with the club, the most of any NFL franchise.

McMichael and Hester are the first Bears inducted into the Pro Hall of Fame since offensive lineman Jim Covert and defensive end Ed Sprinkle in 2020. Linebacker Chuck Howley, who spent two seasons with the Bears, was a part of the 2023 Class.

“We are ecstatic and extremely grateful that both Steve McMichael and Devin Hester have been selected for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” said Bears President & CEO Kevin Warren.

“Both of these men were transformative football players who have always represented themselves, their families and the Chicago Bears with dignity, class and grace. Having Steve and Devin become the 31st and 32nd members of our franchise enshrined into Canton is very memorable and special. We would also like to congratulate Julius Peppers on his enshrinement and we deeply appreciate his positive impact on the Chicago Bears.”

The big man played 13 of his 15 NFL seasons with the Bears from 1981-93, appearing in a franchise record 191 straight games. The former Texas Longhorn, affectionately known as “Mongo,” ranks second in Bears history with 92.5 sacks. He helped the Bears win six division championships and was an instrumental part of the 1985 Super Bowl XX championship defense.

Individually, McMichael was a two-time, first-team All-Pro; a three-time, second-team All-Pro and a two-time Pro Bowler. He was named the 19th best player in Bears history in 2019 by writers of the Chicago Bears Centennial scrapbook, and his 95.0 career sacks rank fourth in NFL history by a defensive tackle. McMichael was named a senior finalist for the Hall of Fame in August and received 80 percent of the vote from a 50-member selection committee.

“This honor is well deserved and long overdue, and we are so happy for Steve and his family,” said Bears Chairman George H. McCaskey. “To be cut by a team early in your career and then go on to the Pro Football Hall of Fame is a tremendous accomplishment. Steve showed us all what can be achieved through grit, toughness and hard work, and he has earned his place among the game’s immortals.”

Hester, one of the most prolific return specialists in league history, played eight of his 11 NFL seasons with the Bears. He holds NFL records with 20 total return touchdowns, including 14 punt-return touchdowns. Hester also added five kick-return touchdowns and one field goal-return touchdown.

Selected by the Bears in the second round of the 2006 draft out of Miami (FL), he was voted to three Pro Bowls, won 13 special teams Player of the Week awards and was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 2000s.

Hester capped his remarkable rookie season by becoming the first player in NFL history to return the opening kickoff of a Super Bowl for a touchdown, dashing 92 yards in an eventual 29-17 loss to the Colts. This was his second year on the ballot.

“Devin revolutionized the game,” added McCaskey.

“No one had seen anything like him, and there hasn’t been anyone like him since. He had opposing head coaches telling their special teams coordinators, ‘don’t kick to that guy,’ and they suffered the consequences when the message didn’t get through.

“We’re delighted that the Hall has recognized Devin’s special talents.”

Former Bears defensive end Julius Peppers was also among the 2024 group selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Peppers spent four of his 17 NFL seasons with the Bears from 2010-13 and ranks fourth in NFL history with 159.5 sacks, 37.5 of which came with the Bears.

He was named first-team All-Pro in 2010; second-team All-Pro in 2012 and was ranked in the NFL Top 100 Players in three of his four seasons in Chicago (10th-2011, 26th-2012 and 54th-2013).

“Julius was one of the best free agent signings in Bears history, and a dominant player on the field,” said McCaskey. “Our congratulations to him.”

Sports Editor at Chicago Crusader Newspaper | + posts

Joseph Phillips is the Sports Editor for the Chicago Crusader Newspaper. He is a Chicago native, who has been a sports writer for over 17 years. He also hosts the SC Media News and Sports Network Q&A radio show on WHPK 88.5 FM Chicago.

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