Chicago Bears Countdown to Kickoff: 73 Days with Mike Hartenstine

Chicago Bears
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Roger Craig, Mike Hartenstine
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Mike Hartenstine becomes perennial starter for Chicago Bears

In his rookie season, Hartenstine started all 14 of the team's games and finished the year with five sacks and the lone safety of his career. His rookie season would be a strong indicator towards the start of his career, as the defensive end started his time with the Chicago Bears with an impressive six-year stretch from 1975 to 1980. During this time, Hartenstine appeared in every game, started in all but four, and recorded 29 total sacks.

By 1981, Hartenstine accepted more of a reserved role across the defensive line, in part due to the emergence of Dan Hampton and Al Harris. In the following three seasons, from 1982 to 1984, Hartenstine regained his status as a starter despite missing time due to injury throughout this span. Nonetheless, Hartenstine's best year of his career came in 1983, when the veteran started all 16 of the team's games to the tune of 12 sacks on the season.

The following 1985 season is well documented as the legendary Chicago Bears defense led the way for the team to appear in Super Bowl XX, and while Hartenstine wasn't a starter throughout the year, he was a key contributor in the team's dominant stretch throughout the season. Hartenstine started eight games during the year and appeared in all 16 contests.

Unfortunately, Hartenstine did not log much playing time during the team's Super Bowl and felt some of the same dejection that Walter Payton faced after helping this team for so many years. Nonetheless, Hartenstine finished the season as a Super Bowl champion, bringing his Chicago Bears career full circle.