Chicago Bears Countdown to Kickoff: 73 Days with Mike Hartenstine

Chicago Bears
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Chicago Bears, Mike Hartenstine
Chicago Bears, Mike Hartenstine / Jonathan Daniel/GettyImages

Mike Hartenstine's legacy with the Chicago Bears

The Penn State product played in Chicago for one more season following 1985 before signing a one-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings in '87. After a lone season with the division rivals, Hartenstine retired from the NFL in 1988. At the time of his retirement, Hartenstine's 179 consecutive appearances ranked first in Chicago Bears history, and has only since been surpassed by Walter Payton and Steve McMichael.

In 12 seasons with the Bears, Hartenstine accumulated 55 sacks over 184 games played. His sack total is strong enough for sixth best in franchise history, but he also crucially served as a mentor for Hampton, Dent, and McMichael, the top three leaders in franchise sack history.

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Despite never being elected to a Pro Bowl or All-Pro team, Hartenstine had an irreplaceable impact on the Chicago Bears of the 1980's. Without the leadership of Hartenstine and Payton from the 1975 draft class, it is difficult to imagine this famed team reaching the peaks that they did. Capping off his time with the Chicago Bears with a Super Bowl ring, Hartenstine is a great selection for today's Countdown to Kickoff.