As training camp approaches and CSNChicago.com looks ahead to competitions and other situations, Bears Insider Moon Mullin ranks the top three in franchise history at each position.
Try blocking any of these greats one-on-one:
1. Doug Atkins
Big Man was a legend off the field as well as on it, where he stood 6-foot-8 and played between 265 and 280 pounds in his career. NFL.com slotted Atkins as the No. 9 pass rusher of all time (http:tinyurl.com7l4lg9j) and he originally went to Tennessee on a basketball scholarship in addition to having been a high-jump champion.
The sack didnt become a recognized stat until more than a decade after Atkins retirement. Too bad. But for anyone doubting the athleticism of players in bygone eras, check out the videos. Thats Atkins vaulting running backs and left tackles.
2. Richard Dent
The Colonels long-overdue election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame finally put the spotlight on one of the NFLs best-ever pass rushers, finishing his career with 137.5 sacks third all-time behind Reggie White and Bruce Smith when Dent retired in 1997. Dent was 6-foot-5, 265 pounds, was the MVP of Super Bowl XX and voted All-Pro five times.
And he was a soloist in "The Super Bowl Shuffle."
The Sackmans comin, Im your man Dent;If the quarterbacks slow, hes gonna get bent;We stop the run, we stop the pass;I like to dump guy on their ass!We love to play for the worlds best fans;You better start makin your Super Bowl plans!
But don't get ready or go to any trouble
Unless you practice The Super Bowl Shuffle.
3. Julius Peppers
He has only been a Bear for two seasons now and he didnt get to Chicago until the ninth year of his career. But Peppers, who likely will finish his career with the Bears (he is signed through 2015), still ranks as one of the top defensive linemen, end or tackle, in the NFL.
Peppers does not play with quite the pass-rushing flair of Atkins or Dent. But he ranks with Dan Hampton as the two most versatile defensive linemen in franchise history, playing inside and out, right and left with equal impact.