Reaction to the death of Hall of Fame RB Gale Sayers

Reaction to the death of Chicago Bears great and Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers:

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“Football fans know well Gale’s many accomplishments on the field: a rare combination of speed and power as the game’s most electrifying runner, a dangerous kick returner, his comeback from a serious knee injury to lead the league in rushing, and becoming the youngest player inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. People who weren’t even football fans came to know Gale through the TV movie “Brian’s Song,” about his friendship with teammate Brian Piccolo. Fifty years later, the movie’s message that brotherhood and love needn’t be defined by skin color, still resonates. Coach Halas said it best, when presenting Gale for induction at the Hall of Fame: ‘His like will never be seen again.’ On behalf of the McCaskey family, we offer our sincerest condolences to Ardie and the entire Sayers family.” — Bears chairman George McCaskey.

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“Will miss a great friend who helped me become the player I became because after practicing and scrimmaging against Gale I knew I could play against anybody. We lost one of the best Bears ever and more importantly we lost a great person.” — Bears Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus.

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“My heart is broken over the loss of my dear friend, Gale Sayers. Portraying Gale in Brian’s Song was a true honor and one of the nightlights of my career. He was an extraordinary human being with the the kindest heart. My sincerest condolences to his family.” — Actor Billy Dee Williams, who played Sayers in the made-for-TV movie “Brian’s Song,” on Twitter.

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“Gale Sayers was someone who I admired long before I arrived in Chicago. I loved his approach to the game and of course, how he played it. He inspired me to be great in a city that loves sports like no other. RIP to one of the @NFL’s best ever. #KansasComet @ChicagoBears” — Chicago Bulls great Scottie Pippen in a tweet.

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“Gale was one of the finest men in NFL history and one of the game’s most exciting players. Gale was an electrifying and elusive runner who thrilled fans every time he touched the ball. He earned his place as a first-ballot Hall of Famer.” — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

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“He was the very essence of a team player — quiet, unassuming and always ready to compliment a teammate for a key block. Gale was an extraordinary man who overcame a great deal of adversity during his NFL career and life.” — Hall of Fame President David Baker.

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“Rest in heaven to Mr. Sayers #40 When I was drafted in 2008 he was our guide in Canton when we got to visit the HOF. Amazing inspiration before starting a career. Thanks for setting the standard for @ChicagoBears RB’s. You’ll be missed but always remembered.” — Former Bears running back Matt Forte on Twitter.

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“He was a kind man and a phenomenal athlete.” — Joy Piccolo-O’Connell, Brian Piccolo’s widow.

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“He happened to be one of my idols when I was growing up. I had his poster right next to my bed and was just the guy that I was most in love with watching him play. I got his picture on my wall right now in my office, just being like a little kid about it. … A guy that made the Hall of Fame in 68 games. It’s amazing that he was able to do that, and the impression that he made on everybody. He was so much my idol I wore his number and the whole thing when I was growing up. We’ll really miss him.” — Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.

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