Chicago Bears Countdown to Kickoff: 83 Days with Willie Gault

Chicago Bears, Willie Gault
Chicago Bears, Willie Gault / Tony Tomsic-USA TODAY Sports
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Chicago Bears, Willie Gault
Chicago Bears, Willie Gault / Manny Rubio-USA TODAY Sports

Willie Gault joins Chicago Bears, becomes Super Bowl champion

Following Gault's collegiate success, the wide receiver entered the 1983 NFL Draft, where he was selected by the Chicago Bears with the 18th overall pick. In a draft known famously for having six quarterbacks taken in the first round, including John Elway, Jim Kelly, and Dan Marino, it is important to note that Gault was the first receiver taken in the draft and was only the sixth offensive skill player off the board.

Upon joining the Bears, Gault made an immediate impact on offense. After logging 13 starts as a rookie, Gault finished his first season with 867 total yards and eight touchdowns. With Gault being somewhat of a proven and reliable commodity heading into the 1984 season, the Bears made the receiver a full-time starter early in the year. In his second season, the Tennessee product recorded 587 yards with six touchdowns. In the team's following postseason run, Gault had only one reception in two games, but his one catch went for 75 yards and a touchdown to help the team reach the NFC Championship game, losing to the eventual champion San Francisco 49ers.

Coming off a deep postseason run, Gault remained a starter in the 1985 season and turned in a slightly more impressive stat line by the end of the year. Starting in 16 of the team's games, the first time he had done this in his career, Gault gained 722 total offensive yards and one touchdown. The receiver also picked up some duties on special teams, serving as the team's kick returner, where he added 577 yards, including a 99-yard return touchdown.

The Chicago Bears finished the 1985 season with a 15-1 record, and as the legendary defense would help crush the opponents in the playoffs, Gault did his job spectacularly during the postseason run. In three games, including Super Bowl XX, Gault averaged over 83 yards per game and added one touchdown in the team's victory against the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship game. Gault had the most receiving yards across both teams during the Super Bowl with 129 yards on just four receptions.