Today's edition of Chicago Bears Countdown to Kickoff marks 93 days until the start of the 2023 NFL season, allowing us to look at the life and career of one of the most productive players who wore the number 93 for the franchise, defensive end Adewale Ogunleye.
Adewale Ogunleye's Path to the Chicago Bears
A Staten Island, New York native, Ogunleye grew up the grandson of the Oba, or king, of a small Nigerian city-state named Emure. However, his parents had moved to the United States prior to Adewale's birth in 1997.
Ogunleye committed to Indiana University after playing high school football at Tottenville High School. In college, Ogunleye was a standout in the Big 10, earning All-Conference nominations in three consecutive seasons en route to becoming Indiana's all-time leader in sacks and tackles for loss with 34.5 and 64, respectively. Additionally, those marks are good enough for the top seven in Big 10 history for both categories.
After four years at Indiana, Ogunleye went undrafted during the 2000 NFL Draft, opting to sign with the Miami Dolphins. As a Dolphin, Ogunleye spent his first season on injured reserve and did not see the field until 2001, where he played in seven games as a backup, logging 0.5 sacks, one tackle for loss, and three total tackles.
By 2002, the 25-year-old player earned his first opportunity to get on the field in Miami, playing and starting in all 16 of Miami's games. With 9.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss, Ogunleye became a respectable and productive defensive end and backed it up with an even more impressive 2003 season, where he recorded 15 sacks and 19 tackles for loss while being nominated to his first Pro Bowl.
Adewale Ogunleye Becomes Chicago Bears Cornerstone
Following his impressive 2004 season, the Dolphins traded Ogunleye to the Chicago Bears in exchange for a 2005 third-round pick and wide receiver Marty Booker. As a Bear, Ogunleye was a day-one starter, starting in all 12 games that he was available for in 2005. Unfortunately, Ogunleye's production dropped during his first season in Chicago, as the former Hoosier only managed five sacks, but 2006 would more than makeup for his lack of production.
Heading into the 2006 season, Ogunleye was elected as one of the team captains and was again a consistent starter at defensive end, missing only two games while returning to double-digit sacks. Ogunleye was an integral part of the 2006 Bears defense that led the team to a Super Bowl before eventually falling to the Peyton Manning-led Colts. During that year's postseason run, Ogunleye contributed two sacks over three games en route to winning the NFC.
After the 2006 season, Ogunleye struggled to match the production from early in his career, and from 2007 to 2009, the former Pro Bowler managed only 20.5 sacks while only missing two games in three years due to a fibula break near the end of the 2009 season. With his play starting to decline, the Bears chose not to resign Ogunleye following the 2009 season, forcing the player to sign a one-year deal with the Houston Texans for the 2010 season.
In Houston, Ogunleye served as a rotational player, playing in only four games as a backup and recording zero sacks. Following the season, Ogunleye would retire, finishing his career with 67 sacks and nearly 300 solo tackles across 10 seasons with three teams. Of all of these teams, Ogunleye spent twice as long with the Bears as any other franchise and finished his career tied for fifth all-time in sacks by a Chicago Bear tied only with Trace Armstrong.
Coincidentally, Armstrong, another player who wore 93 in Chicago, had a nearly identical career with the Bears as Ogunleye: both finished with their Chicago stints with 42 sacks across six seasons as well as having 87 total starts. The key difference between the two players is that Odunleye was a key contributor to a Bears defense that went to the Super Bowl and won the NFC.
Since his retirement in 2011, Ogunleye has been enshrined in the Indiana University Athletics Hall of Fame, where many of his records from college still stand. Today, Ogunleye is the Director of Sports and Entertainment at UBS, serving as a connection between wealth managers and professional athletes and celebrities, helping these high-profile people understand the importance of having strong financial security.
Outside of his management career, Ogunleye is still an active member of his community and is incredibly hands-on with the Goal Power Foundation, a group that helps inner-city children find different career opportunities, specifically within the sports and entertainment world.