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Dick Butkus, fearsome Hall of Fame linebacker for the Chicago Bears, dies at 80

Oct 5, 2023, 4:56 PM | Updated: 5:02 pm

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 31:  Pro Football Hall of Fame member Dick Butkus is honored at halftime duri...

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 31: Pro Football Hall of Fame member Dick Butkus is honored at halftime during the game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on October 31, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

CHICAGO (AP) — Dick Butkus, a fearsome middle linebacker for the Chicago Bears, has died, the team announced Thursday. He was 80.

According to a statement released by the team, Butkus’ family confirmed that he died in his sleep overnight at his home in Malibu, California.

Butkus was a Hall of Famer whose bone-rattling tackles made him one of the most intimidating players in NFL history. He was the quintessential modern linebacker, a disruptive force who roamed sideline to sideline and left a trail of broken opponents behind.

He was a first-team All-Pro selection five times and made the Pro Bowl in eight of his nine seasons before knee injuries forced his retirement at age 31. Despite a short career, Butkus came to define his position. He routinely ranks among the NFL’s top 100 players.

Playing off his tough-guy image, Butkus later acted in movies, TV shows and commercials.

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Dick Butkus, fearsome Hall of Fame linebacker for the Chicago Bears, dies at 80