Gale Sayers Biography, Stats, Career, Net Worth

John Rizzo

Gale Sayers was a legendary American footballer from Wichita, Kansas. He was a gifted Halfback and Return Specialist who played in the NFL for the Chicago Bears from 1965 to 1971.

Despite his short career due to injury, Sayers earned numerous awards and recognitions for his remarkable accomplishments on the field.

He was a two-time Consensus All-American at the University of Kansas and won the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award in 1965. Sayers also held the NFL record for most touchdowns in a season by a rookie and was named to several All-Pro teams during his career.

He passed away in 2020 at the age of 77.

Gale Sayers

Personal Information of Gale Sayers

Real Name/Full NameGale Eugene Sayers
Birth PlaceWichita, Kansas
Height6 feet 0 inch (1.83 m)
Wife/Spouse (Name)Ardythe Bullard
Net Worth$50 million


Season Averages
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Season Misc Totals

Early years

Gale Eugene Sayers was born in Wichita, Kansas and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. His father was a mechanic and worked for auto dealerships. His younger brother Ron later played for the San Diego Chargers.

Gale graduated from Omaha Central High School where he excelled in football and track and field. He even set a state long jump record of 24 ft 10 1/2 inches as a senior in 1961. Gale’s father and older brother were both athletic, with the latter being a decorated college track and field athlete.

Growing up, Gale was influenced by their success and athleticism. Despite their influence, Gale faced obstacles in his early years. At Omaha Central High School, he was the only African American on the team but still garnered attention for his skill on the football field.

Despite facing racial discrimination, Gale persevered and went on to become one of the greatest football players in history. His early years were marked by his determination, talent, and resilience in the face of adversity.

College career

Gale Sayers played college football at the University of Kansas. He was recruited by many Midwestern colleges but chose Kansas. Sayers initially intended to go to the University of Iowa but changed his mind after the Iowa head coach didn’t have time to meet him during his visit.

During his time at Kansas, Sayers was an outstanding player. He rushed for 2,675 yards and amassed 4,020 all-purpose yards, a Big Eight Conference record. He was a first-team All-Big Eight selection three times.

Sayers was also a consensus pick for the College Football All-America Team in both 1963 and 1964. His college career set him up for a successful professional career.

Professional career

Gale Sayers had a successful professional football career. He was a first-round draft pick for both the NFL and the AFL in 1965. Despite being picked by both leagues, he ultimately decided to play for the Chicago Bears.

As a rookie for the Bears, Sayers set an NFL record by scoring 22 touchdowns, 14 of which were rushing, and six were receiving. In addition, Sayers scored one touchdown each on a punt and kickoff return.

He also gained a rookie record of 2,272 all-purpose yards, with 1,371 of them being from scrimmage. His yards-per-rush average was 5.2, while his yards-per-reception average was 17.5. Finally, his average yards-per-punt-return was 14.9, and his average yards-per-kickoff-return was a league-high 31.4.

Despite only playing for seven seasons due to injuries, Sayers still managed to have an impressive career. He was a 5-time Pro Bowler and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.

Net Worth

Gale Sayers was one of the greatest running backs in NFL history, playing for the Chicago Bears from 1965 to 1971. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977 and was named to the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1994.

Sayers had a successful career after football as well, becoming a stockbroker, a sports administrator, and a philanthropist. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Sayers had an estimated net worth of $50 million at the time of his death in 2020.

Playing style

Gale Sayers was highly regarded for his exceptional abilities as a runner. He had an unmatched talent for running in open fields, both during his playing days and after his retirement. This was because of his raw speed, elusiveness, and terrific vision which made it extremely challenging to tackle him.

Billy Dee Williams, the actor who played Sayers in a movie, likened his running style to “ballet” and “poetry”. Mike Ditka, a teammate of Sayers’ for two seasons, considers him as the greatest player he has ever seen.

Apart from that, his playing style drew accolades from fans, teammates, and opponents alike. His natural agility and dynamic movements made it impossible for his competitors to catch up to him.

Despite him being a force to be reckoned with defensive players, he managed to hold his own and lead his team to numerous victories.

By combining his exceptional talent with his commitment to the sport, Gale Sayers proved that he was a true sportsman and a legend in his own right.

Brian Piccolo

Brian Piccolo was a former college football player who played professionally for the Chicago Bears. In 1967, he became roommates with Gale Sayers. They became very close friends. Sadly, Piccolo was diagnosed with cancer and had to undergo treatment.

Sayers helped his friend through the rehabilitation process after his cancer treatment. Sayers was a constant companion to Piccolo as he fought against his cancer, showing unwavering love and support throughout his illness.

Despite the odds stacked against him, Piccolo held on for as long as he could, but he passed away in June 1970. Sayers was devastated by the loss of his friend, but he continued to honor Piccolo’s memory throughout his life.

In his autobiography, I Am Third, Sayers spoke about his friendship with Piccolo and the impact that he had on his life. Their friendship was the inspiration behind the made-for-TV movie, Brian’s Song.

Sayers was portrayed by Billy Dee Williams and Mekhi Phifer in the original and remake of the movie, respectively. Through their friendship, Sayers and Piccolo showed what true companionship was all about, and their bond remains an inspiration to people all over the world today.

What was Gale Sayers cause of death?

Gale Sayers, a well-known football player, passed away at the age of 77. As per the available information, he died due to complications related to Alzheimer’s and dementia.

While he was a popular public figure, many people knew him through the famous movie “Brian’s Song” which portrayed a fictionalized version of his life.

However, in reality, Gale Sayers was an artist in motion. His legacy as a football player was shaped due to his exceptional skills on the field, and he earned numerous accolades for his outstanding performances.

Though his death is a great loss to the football community, his remarkable talent and contributions will be remembered forever. May he rest in peace.

Did Gale Sayers have children?

Gale Sayers and his wife, Ardythe Bullard, had three children together. They were named Gale Jr., Tony, and Ryan. Gale Jr. tragically passed away at the young age of 45 due to cardiac arrest.

Tony is a former NFL player and is now a motivational speaker. Ryan is the founder of the Sayers Club, a Hollywood hotspot. Despite the loss of his son, Sayers remained an active and involved father to his other two children.

He would often attend their sporting events and supported them throughout their careers. Sayers was a proud family man and valued his role as a father.

Did Gale Sayers win a Super Bowl?

Gale Sayers did not win a Super Bowl during his career. He played for the Chicago Bears for seven seasons. Sayers was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.

Two-Time NFL Offensive Player of the Year Sayers retired from football due to injuries in 1971. Despite not winning a Super Bowl, he left a lasting impact on the game.

How fast was Gale Sayers?

  • Ran 100-yard dash in 9.6 seconds.
  • Hurdler with excellent skills.
  • Recorded a state record in long jump in Spring of 1961.
  • Long jumped 24 feet, 10.5 inches.
  • Known for his speed and agility.
  • Achieved great success in football.
  • Nicknamed “The Kansas Comet.”
  • Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.
  • Only played professional football for seven seasons due to injury.
  • Considered one of the greatest running backs in NFL history.

Is Gale Sayers alive or dead?

  • Former American football player
  • Born on May 30, 1943
  • Played for Chicago Bears
  • Known as the “Kansas Comet”
  • Inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1977
  • Suffered numerous injuries during his career
  • Retired in 1972 due to knee injury
  • Alive as of September 23, 2021
  • Passed away on September 23, 2020
  • Aged 77 at the time of his death

What were Brian Piccolo’s last words?

Brian Piccolo, a former American football player, expressed his disbelief about something to someone named Joy with his last words. He said, “Can you believe it, Joy? Can you believe this s***?” It’s not clear what exactly he was talking about.

Piccolo was known as a friend of Gale Sayers, another football player. Sayers referred to Piccolo as “Pic,” while Piccolo called Sayers “Black Magic.” The two had a close friendship that was unusual during the time period because Sayers was Black and Piccolo was White.

Piccolo actually encouraged Sayers during his early days in the game, despite being an established player. The two even roomed together during their careers. Piccolo was diagnosed with embryonal cell carcinoma during his career, and Sayers supported him throughout his treatment.

However, Piccolo ultimately passed away at the young age of 26 due to the disease. Upon his death, the Brian Piccolo Cancer Research Fund was established in his honor, which has raised millions of dollars toward cancer research.

To Recap

Gale Sayers was a legendary American football player born on May 30, 1943, in Wichita, Kansas, who died on September 23, 2020, in Wakarusa, Indiana at the age of 77. He was a halfback and return specialist for the Chicago Bears from 1965 to 1971.

He was a Consensus All-American at the University of Kansas where his jersey number, 48, has been retired. Sayers set an NFL record for most touchdowns in a season by a rookie, with 22 in 1965, and held the record for most all-purpose touchdowns in a single game, with six.

He was named to multiple NFL All-Decade and All-Time teams, and was inducted into both the Pro Football and College Football Halls of Fame.

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John Rizzo

I am a professional rugby player in the Washington DC-Baltimore area. I have been playing rugby for over 10 years and have had the opportunity to play in many different countries. I am also a coach for both youth and adult rugby teams. I graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in Sports Management and Marketing. I am currently working on my MPA from American University and plan to pursue this career path after graduating next year. LinkedIn

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