Today's installment of Chicago Bears Countdown to Kickoff brings us to 80 days until the start of the 2023 season, meaning that today we will be looking at the life and career of the best player in franchise history to don the number 80, wide receiver Curtis Conway.
Curtis Conway's path to the Chicago Bears
A native of Los Angeles, California, Conway attended local Hawthorne High School, where the speedy athlete participated in both the school's football and track and field teams. On the gridiron, Conway served as his team's quarterback and was a top-ranked recruit across the country. As a senior, Conway not only accounted for 39 of the team's 42 offensive touchdowns but was also elected as an All-American. Credited as the "world's fastest quarterback", Conway was an electric factory on the field, but considering the young athlete's track and field prowess, his athleticism as a football player should be no surprise.
In track, Conway enjoyed a similarly dominant career, helping his school's 4 x 100 relay reach the state championship. As a senior, Conway even won the state 100-meter dash and finished second in the 200-meter.
After a decorated high school career, Conway would eventually wind up at the University of Southern California after briefly attending El Camino Junior College. As a Trojan, Conway would convert from quarterback to wide receiver and made his presence felt early in his career on special teams as a returner. In his first season with the team, Conway totaled over 700 yards and one touchdown as a punt and kick returner.
In his second season, Conway became more involved in the offense, contributing 269 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns alongside over 550 total return yards. In 1992, Conway took a great step forward as an offensive weapon, finishing the season with over 800 offensive yards and six touchdowns.
Following his collegiate career, Conway entered the 1993 NFL Draft. A highly touted athlete, the USC product would be selected seventh overall by the Chicago Bears, making him the highest-drafted pass catcher of his class.