The Bears have an illustrious history filled with some of the greatest names in the sport of football and with that being said, it is no shocker that Bears had one of the strongest presences of any NFL team on ESPN's 150 greatest players in college football history list. The list, which was revealed on Monday night, had a total of eight former Bears—and one former White Sox slugger to boot.
In order: Mike Singletary (No. 108), Julius Peppers (No. 104), Sid Luckman (No. 103), Mike Ditka (No. 78), Walter Payton (No. 16), Gale Sayers (No. 10), Dick Butkus (No. 8), and Red Grange (No. 6) were the Bears legends to make the illustrious list, while former White Sox slugger Bo Jackson ('91, '93) made an appearance on the list as well.
Peppers is the most recent Chicago Bear to make the list. Peppers, who played with the Bears from 2010 to 2013, was a consensus All-American, Chuck Bednarik Award, and Vince Lombardi Award winner with North Carolina in 2001.
Bears Hall of Fame Sayers, Payton, and Grange made the list with some of the greatest individual running back seasons in NCAA history. Payton scored a whopping 66 touchdowns over his career at Jackson State. He was such a dominant player during his time that he finished in the top-14 in Heisman voting in 1974 though he played for Division II Jackson State (an HBCU). Sayers was the first player in FBS history with a 99-yard rush and used his uncanny speed to average 6.5 yards per carry for his career at the University of Kansas.
And Grange, known as "the Galloping Ghost", was a three-time consensus All-American with some of the most dominant single-game performances in the history of the sport. Grange was a member of college football's inaugural Hall of Fame class. And while Grange did finish higher on the list, we would be remiss not to mention Dick Butkus. One of the most iconic Chicago Bears of all-time, Butkus was known for his tenacious tackles. He left such an impact on the sport that the award for the best linebacker in college football is named after him.
While the White Sox and Bears combined to have a strong presence on the list, the University of Illinois football program—led by former Bears coach Lovie Smith—doesn't want anyone to forget that they are indeed the only program with two players in the top 11.