Chicago Bears Countdown to Kickoff: 86 Days with Marty Booker

Chicago Bears, Marty Booker
Chicago Bears, Marty Booker / Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
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Today's installment of Chicago Bears Countdown to Kickoff brings us to 86 days until the Chicago Bears begin the 2023 season campaign against the Green Bay Packers, and to celebrate, let's look at the life and career of the best player to don the number 86 in franchise history, wide receiver Marty Booker.

Marty Booker's Path to the Chicago Bears

A native of Jonesboro, Louisiana, Booker attended Jonesboro-Hodges High School, where he participated as a three-sport athlete in football, basketball, and track and field. On the football field, Booker started as a quarterback and had an extremely productive senior season to the tune of over 3,400 yards and 48 total touchdowns. Booker finished his high school athletics career by finishing second in the state in the high jump, and would later commit to the University of Louisiana-Monroe, where he would switch to wide receiver due to his size, speed, and athleticism.

As a freshman in 1995, Booker played sparingly, recording 138 yards and one touchdown across ten contests. By his second season, Booker had cracked the team's starting lineup and turned in an impressive campaign that included 857 yards and six touchdowns. The following season, Booker faced a slight decline with only 621 yards and five touchdowns, but his senior year was when Booker made himself known as a quality wide receiver.

As a senior in 1998, Booker recorded 1,168 yards and 11 touchdowns, finishing the season fourth best in scrimmage touchdowns, points, and yards from scrimmage amongst all players from Independent schools. Following a First-Team All-Independent nod, Booker would enter the 1999 NFL Draft, where he was selected with the 78th overall pick during the third round by the Chicago Bears.