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Former Bear Duerson found dead in Miami home

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Former Bear Duerson found dead in Miami home

Friday, Feb. 18, 2011
Posted 10:13 a.m. Updated 1:20 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Dave Duerson, the Notre Dame All-American safety who went on to win Super Bowls as a member of the 1985 Bears and 1990 New York Giants, was found dead in his Miami home Thursday night at age 50, the Dade County (Fla.) coroner confirmed.

The cause of death was not immediately released.

Its very sad, it really is, said Mike Ditka. Its a sad time to see that. I know his life changed a little bit. I didnt know anything that would be preying on his mind that way. He was a truly nice guy, he really was.

Former teammate Shaun Gayle talked with Duerson from time to time but was at a loss for words Friday.

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I just dont know what to say, Gayle said. Its just such a sad, sad day.

Said Richard Dent, who arrived in the same draft with Duerson: Its just so unfortunate. Im just speechless right now. Its very hard to take.

Duerson, from Muncie,Ind., won his job alongside Gary Fencik despite not being a favorite of then-coordinator Buddy Ryan, who did not let Duerson forget that Ryan considered the absent Todd Bell his better in the deep secondary.

But Duerson, a third-round pick in the Bears legendary 1983 draft, set a record for sacks by a defensive back with 7 in 1986, was voted to four consecutive Pro Bowls from 1986-89 and was named as the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year in 1987. He was released by the Bears after the 1989 season, played for Bill Parcells with the Giants and finished his career with the Arizona Cardinals from 1991-93.

He was a hell of a football player and we knew that when we drafted him out of Notre Dame, Ditka said. He came at the right time because that was the year that Todd Bell didnt come in.

Dave stepped right in and became a starter and played the position as well as anybody. He was a big part of that 85 defense. Gary was the leader of the secondary and Dave was a leader in his own way. He did a great job with the players association, representing the team and his teammates.

Duerson went into business after football, acquiring several McDonalds franchises and eventually purchased a sausage manufacturer which he renamed Fair Oaks Farms. He was able to more than double the sales of the business, sold his interests and founded Duerson Foods.

That business foundered, however, and ultimately went into receivership in 2006. Duerson subsequently filed for divorce from wife Alicia in 2007 and was forced to relinquish his spot on the Notre Dame Board of Trustees after a domestic battery incident.

Our family asks that you remember Dave as a good, kind and caring man, Alicia told NBCChicago.com. He loved and cherished his family and friends and was extremely proud of his beloved Notre Dame andthe Chicago Bears.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

Tarik Cohen was NFL's best big-play RB in 2017

Tarik Cohen was NFL's best big-play RB in 2017

Tarik Cohen's rookie season with the Chicago Bears was an impressive blend of running, receiving and special teams play. He quickly became a household name. The combination of his diminutive frame and oversized personality made him a fan favorite, especially when he started gaining yards in chunks.

In fact, of all running backs with a minimum of 80 carries last season, Cohen had the highest percentage of runs that were 15 or more yards, according to Pro Football Focus.

Cohen will have a big role in new coach Matt Nagy's offense this season because of everything he offers a play-caller. He's a weapon as a receiver out of the backfield and can chew up yards on the ground like any traditional running back. He's a hold-your-breath talent who can turn a bad play into a touchdown in the blink of an eye.

Cohen had 370 rushing yards, 353 receiving yards and three offensive touchdowns in what can be described as a limited role last year. John Fox and Dowell Loggains didn't seem to ever figure out how to best use Cohen's skill set. That should be no issue for Nagy and Mark Helfrich, the team's new offensive coordinator, who both bring a creative offensive approach to Chicago.

Jordan Howard will be the starter and will do most of the heavy lifting. But Cohen is going to have a much bigger role than he had as a rookie, and that should result in more big plays and points on the board.

Roquan Smith helps shear a sheep at Bears community event

Roquan Smith helps shear a sheep at Bears community event

Roquan Smith has more sheared sheep than tackles on his stat sheet as a pro football player.

Smith and several other Bears rookies participated in a hands-on community event at Lambs Farm in Libertyville, Illinois on Monday where he assisted farm staff with the sheep's grooming. Smith said it was a first for him despite growing up around animals. 

"It's like on the norm for me though, playing linebacker you're in the trenches," Smith said of the experience.

"Shaving a sheep, I never really envisioned myself doing something like that," Smith said via ChicagoBears.com. "I was around animals [growing up], but it was more so cows and goats here and there and dogs and cats. I've petted a sheep before, but never actually flipped one and shaved one."

Bears rookies got up close and personal with more than just sheep.

Smith was selected with the eighth overall pick in April's draft and will assume a starting role opposite Danny Trevathan at inside linebacker this season. Here's to hoping he can wrangle opposing ball-carriers like a sheep waiting to be sheared.