Chicago Bears Countdown to Kickoff: 47 Days with Johnny Morris

Chicago Bears, Johnny Morris
Chicago Bears, Johnny Morris / David Boss-USA TODAY Sports
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With only 47 days remaining until the start of the NFL season, today's edition of Chicago Bears Countdown to Kickoff continues with looking at the life and career of the best player in franchise history to don the number 47, Johnny Morris.

Johnny Morris's path from Long Beach to the Chicago Bears

Originally hailing from Long Beach, California, Johnny Morris attended the Long Beach Polytechnic High School, a program that would be known many years later for producing elite NFL talent such as DeSean Jackson, Juju Smith-Schuster, and Marcedes Lewis. However, Morris was perhaps the first great pass catcher to walk through the school's halls.

After a stellar high school career that saw time on both the program's football and track teams, Morris elected to attend the University of California at Santa Barbara. There, Morris continued his dominance in both sports, turning into one of the nation's most productive running backs while simultaneously tying the world record for the 50-yard dash. Despite his record-setting speed, Morris's best came on the football field, where he was an integral part of the team's offense. Following his final collegiate season, Morris was selected to participate in the College All-Star game.

Immediately following an impressive collegiate career, Morris became draft eligible in 1958 where he was selected by the Chicago Bears with the 137th overall pick during the 12th round. Upon joining the Bears, the team moved Morris away from his traditional running back spot to a role as a flanker and a return specialist. Today, the flanker no longer exists, but think of it mainly as a pass catcher out of the backfield, almost similar to something you would see a versatile player like Deebo Samuel do occasionally in today's game.