Bears Legend Dick Butkus To Be Honored With Statue at University of Illinois

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Bears Legend Dick Butkus To Be Honored With Statue at University of Illinois

Chicago Bears News

Dick Butkus has represented the blue-and-orange well dating back to his college years, so it’s only fitting that his alma mater honors him a very unique way:

The University of Illinois announced legendary linebacker Dick Butkus will be honored with a statue at the school’s new football facility, which is expected to be ready for the 2019 season.

“I am very humbled about this,” Butkus said in a release announcing the news of the statue that is soon to come. “Usually when you get a statue you are in the dirt, so this will be very different. I appreciate the tribute, but it is very humbling.”

Before Butkus put together a Hall of Fame career with the Chicago Bears, he was a terror for the Fighting Illini. He was a two-time All-American, a Big Ten Most Valuable Player award winner, leader of an Illini team that won the Rose Bowl in 1963, and was UPI’s Lineman of the Year in 1964. After all, Butkus did split time on campus playing both sides of the ball, lining up at center when on offense.

After his stellar college career, the Bears chose Butkus with the third overall pick in the 1965 NFL Draft and the rest is glorious history. Butkus was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983, four years after he was enshrined into Pro Football’s Hall of Fame. Butkus, who grew up in Chicago, played his high school ball at Chicago Vocational, and spent his entire football career for a team representing the city of Chicago or state of Illinois, has his number retired by the university and the Bears. And now, he’ll have a statue on the campus that launched his professional football career.

“Dick Butkus is the greatest defensive player in the history of football, and he embodies the identity of the Illinois football program,” Illini AD Josh Witman said. “His toughness was legendary. His competitiveness was unparalleled. And, his Illini pride is without peer.”


Luis Medina

Luis is the Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation Bears, and you can find him on Twitter at @lcm1986.