Today marks just 61 days until the Chicago Bears play host to the Green Bay Packers during the first week of the NFL season. To celebrate the 2023 campaign inching closer and closer, we continue the Chicago Bears Countdown to Kickoff by looking at the life and career of the best player in franchise history to don the number 61, Hall of Fame linebacker Bill George.
Bill George's path to the Chicago Bears
A native of Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, Bill George attended Wake Forest where he participated on the school's football team. There, George became a dominant force on the gridiron, and frequently played every snap on offense, defense, and even special teams, where he served as the team's placekicker.
George was elected as an All-Southern Conference player in each of his final three seasons, but his love for sports didn't limit him to just playing football. Despite Wake Forest not having a varsity wrestling team, George independently competed in the Southern Conference Championships, where he won three consecutive titles within the heavyweight division.
Nonetheless, after a dominant career at Wake Forest, George entered his name into the ensuing 1951 NFL Draft, where he was selected by the Chicago Bears with the 33rd overall pick during the second round. Despite being the fourth player taken by the Bears that season, George quickly became a very relevant player on Chicago's championship-contending teams.