The dog days of the offseason are finally behind us now that training camp is underway, just in time for our countdown of the Top 100 Chicago Bears of all time to really heat up. As we get closer to the season opener, we get closer to naming the #1 Chicago Bear of all time.
The Bears selected Keith Van Horne, an offensive tackle out of USC, with the 11th pick in the 1981 NFL draft. Van Horne had a dominant college career and was a unanimous 1st team all-American as a senior and the runner-up for the Outland trophy, which is given to the best college lineman on either side of the ball.
Van Horne stepped right into the starting lineup at a rookie and never lost his job. He played RT for the Bears from ’81 to ’94 and only missed 12 games over 13 seasons despite the constant wars on the offensive line. There weren’t any advanced offensive line stats available like there are now, so there aren’t any impressive numbers to analyze and show Van Horne’s worth. The fact that he held down the starting RT position for 13 years in enough for me. Van Horne somehow never made the Pro Bowl but he was an integral part of the O-line during the Bears Super Bowl ’85 season and a key contributor to Walter Payton’s Hall of Fame career.
What do you think of the ranking? Too high? Too low? I guess you’ll have to check back to see who finished ahead of him to judge for yourself. We’ll be counting down a different person each day as we inch our way to the September 7th season opener.