Chicago Bears Top 100: #40 Doug Plank

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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. 

Heading our Top 40 of the Top 100 Chicago Bears of all time is former Chicago Bears safety Doug Plank.  Plank was selected in the 12th round of the 1975 NFL Draft and made an immediate “impact” on the Bears as a rookie.  I put impact in quotes because impact is exactly what Plank was known for.  He was one of the hardest hitting safeties in the league.  He led the Bears in tackles as a rookie.  The only other Chicago Bear to do that since was Brian Urlacher.

Check out this video of some of Plank’s biggest hits.

Do you think his game would translate to today’s NFL?  Me neither.  He’d either be fined out of the league or suspended every week.

Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan so loved Plank and his game that he named his defense after Plank’s #46 jersey number. The 46 defense was pretty innovative for its time, although the West Coast offense was designed specifically to combat the 46 and it fizzled out after a couple of seasons.  Now, it’s used on occassion.

Unfortunately, Plank wasn’t around to see the defense hit their peak in 1985, as he departed the Bears in 1982.  Since his days with the Bears, Plank spent a season with the Chicago Blitz and has worked as a TV analyst and coached in the Arena league as well as a couple of stints as an assistant in the NFL, most notably as an assistant Rex Ryan’s Jets.  Rex, of course, is the son of Plank’s former DC Buddy Ryan.

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.

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