Chicago Bears: 15 best free agent acquisitions of all-time

Steve McMichael, Chicago Bears. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Steve McMichael, Chicago Bears. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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57. . S. (1976-87). Gary Fencik. 4. player

A two-time Pro Bowl safety, Gary Fencik spent his entire career with the Bears, but that wasn’t the team that originally drafted the defensive back.

Taken in the 10th round out of Yale, Fencik was originally a member of the Miami Dolphins, but he didn’t last long with the club at all. He was cut before the regular season began. The Bears came swooping in to land the 6-foot-1, 194-pound Fencik.

He didn’t start as a rookie, but made 13 appearances as a reserve defender. That changed in 1977 when the Bears had Fencik in the defensive backfield as their starting strong safety. He was responsible for four interceptions in his first season as a full-time starter, ending up with 14 picks over his first three seasons as their primary safety.

Fencik became the leader of the Bears secondary and was a complete star for their legendary 1985 defense. It featured him, linebacker Mike Singletary and defensive tackle Dan Hampton. Hampton and Singletary got much more credit as leaders of the defense, but Fencik was just as important to their success.

For his career, Fencik was credited with 1,102 tackles and ended up with 38 interceptions. He had six in a season twice, as well as registering five in a season on two separate occasions in 1984 and 1985. He played for the Bears until the age of 33, proving the Dolphins made a big error in letting him go.