Gale Sayers dies at 77

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Former Bears running back Gale Sayers, an all-purpose tailback who took the league by storm as a rookie in 1965, has died. He was 77.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced Sayers’ passing.

Chicago fans got their first look at Gale Sayers when the Bears faced the Los Angeles Rams at Wrigley Field on Oct. 10, 1965. Photo taken on Oct. 6, 1965.

On December 12, 1965, Sayers scored a single-game record six touchdowns in a game against the 49ers, with an 80-yard catch-and-run, four rushing touchdowns (including a 50-yarder), and an 85-yard punt return. He finished his rookie year with 22 touchdowns.

Sayers made it to the Hall of Fame despite playing only 68 regular-season games, due to knee injuries that shortened his career. As explained earlier this year, Sayers forever will be linked to Brian Piccolo, a teammate who died of cancer at 26. Their close friendship became the subject of Brian’s Song.