Chicago Bears: Top 10 Nastiest Players of All Time
The Chicago Bears have long been known as the "Monsters of the Midway," and for good reason. They have long been known as a team that ferocious, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Since the Bears were established in 1919, there has not been another team that has had as many mean players.
Chicago is a tough city with tough people, and the Bears are the same way.
The Bears have been one of the most successful teams ever with 30 Hall of Famers, 27 as players. A list that includes NFL All-Time greats Dick Butkus, Walter Payton, Sid Luckman, Bronko Nagurski and many more.
With as many hard-nosed players as the Bears have had, it's hard to name all of them. I'm going to attempt to narrow the list to the 10 nastiest players in Chicago Bears history.
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These are the players that just missed the cut for the top 10.
The face of the Bears franchise for all of the 2000's, Urlacher sports a big body with a lot of momentum behind it when he hits an opponent. But he was not a particularly big hitter and didn't have the "mean streak" the players ahead of him had.
The Bears list of big mean players is just too good. McMichael would make this list for a lot of other NFL teams, but Mongo just misses the cut for the top 10 here.
Kreutz was a hard-nosed smashmouth player at center for the Bears offense in the 2000's. It's hard for a player this good to miss the cut, but the line had to be drawn somewhere and Olin finds himself on the short end of the stick.
One of the first players who incorporated weight lifting into his workout regimen, Jones was a physical specimen who was a monster on the field for the Chicago Bears.
10. Jim Covert
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Jim Covert was the left tackle on a line that led to the best rushing attack for four years in a row ('83-'86). He was a bruiser that was not afraid to stick it to a defensive player and led the way for Walter Payton.
Covert brought the pain and had the brains so to speak. Covert was as solid as they come along the offensive line. He was selected as the NFL's best offensive lineman in 1985 and was consensus all-pro in 1985 and 1986.
Covert played with a mean streak and was known as a bruiser and, with time, will eventually be known as a Hall of Famer. There is no question Covert was a stud, and with his knock-you-down-stand-you-up-and-knock-you-down again style, it's clear he is one of the nastiest Bears of all time.
9. Walter Payton
Walter Payton is one of the greatest football players of all time, regardless of position. He was a mainstay with the Bears for his whole career finishing with, at the time, the most rushing yards and rushing TDs in NFL history.
While he may have been known as "Sweetness," his attitude and relentlessness on the gridiron were far different. Payton never shied away from contact and, oftentimes, looked for any opportunity to take on a defensive player.
Opposing teams did everything in their power to try and slow him down, but it was almost impossible. I've never seen a player with as much heart and determination as Payton. He played the game of football with a passion that is unmatched.
There is not a doubt Payton was an incredible man off the field, but when game time came and the Kangaroo cleats were laced up, there were very few players who were as nasty as Walter Payton.
8. Richard Dent
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Ranking third in sacks in NFL history, Richard Dent was consistently a star for the Chicago Bears. Drafted just two years before the Bears 1985 Super Bowl, he made an immediate impact.
In the 1985 season there was no pass-rusher better than Dent. He led the league with 17 sacks while also posting two forced fumbles and two interceptions. Not bad for a player who was selected in the eighth round.
He was a monster on the field, creating havoc in the backfield on nearly every snap. Dent was a rugged working man's player. He was tenacious off the ball, and when he got hold of a player, he was going down.
To say the least, Dent was a force to be reckoned with.
7. Doug Plank
When a defensive scheme is named after your number, you knowing you're doing something right, and such is the case with Doug Plank.
As a safety for the Bears, Plank developed a reputation as one of the hardest hitters in the league, something that led Buddy Ryan to name his famous 46 defense after the number Plank donned on his jersey.
He played and hit so hard that it forced him into an early retirement in 1983, causing him to miss out on the Bears one and only Super Bowl appearance and win.
As a safety tandem with Gary Fencik, they earned the nickname "The Hit Men" for the abuse they caused opposing players.
Plank played every play literally through the whistle, which garnered him a dirty player tag. But if there was ever a Chicago Bear who could lay the lumber, it was Plank.
6. Clyde "Bulldog" Turner
Clyde "Bulldog" Turner was as mean as they came back in the early stages of the NFL. Drafted in the first round of the 1940 NFL draft, Turner nearly got lured to the Detroit Lions, but ultimately they were found guilty on tampering accusations and Turner had to play for the Bears.
As a center and middle linebacker, Turner was one of the most consistent players on the early Bears teams. He was another player who was far bigger than the average player of the day, measuring in at 6'2" and 235lbs, making him a matchup nightmare.
Turner was a student of the game and, according to the Chicago Tribune, studied every position for every play on both offense and defense so he could contribute in any way he was needed. Where he was needed was where he played. He played with a mean streak and often laid the lumber on not-so-lucky opponents.
Bulldog was an eight-time all-pro and four-time NFL Championship winner with his time with the Bears. He was another Bears great who was known to really dish out licks to opposing players.
5. Bronko Nagurski
Bronko Nagurski is known as one of the Bears all-time greats playing from 1930-1937 and one final season with the team in 1943.
He was a Jack of all trades, even starring as a professional wrestler and winning multiple heavyweight championships.
But on the gridiron, he was not one to mess with. Nagurski was a man among boys. He stood 6'2" and 225lbs in a time when the average height for a male was under 5'9" and 160lbs. He was bigger than most linemen of the era. He was big, strong and fast and other players knew to watch out.
Bronko was a monster constantly looking for contact and trucking over defenders. He even looks mean and he sure played like it. He is also the only player in NFL history to be an all-pro at three different positions.
Bronko was quite the player for the storied Bears franchise.
4. Dan Hampton
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You don't get a nickname like "Danimal" if you aren't an animal on the football field. And that is exactly what Dan Hampton was.
Hampton was a huge part in the Bears vaunted '85 defense at defensive tackle, regularly dominating offensive linemen and laying crushing hits on the quarterback. After being selected fourth overall in 1979, Hampton made an immediate impact being selected All-Rookie.
In the Danimal's tenure with the Chicago Bears (1979-90), there was not a better defense in the NFL as the Bears ranked first in rushing yards allowed, rushing TDs allowed, sacks, total yards allowed and points allowed.
He was an absolute stud on defense and one hell of a mean player. He earned his place among the greats in 2002 when he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
3. Mike Singletary
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Where to start with the "Samurai," Mike Singletary? He was the heart and soul of the 1985 Bears defense, he is a Hall of Famer, an eight-time All Pro and a 10-time Pro Bowler. He was also a two-time defensive player of the year.
You don't earn nicknames like the "Samurai" and "Iron Mike" unless you are one nasty football player. Singletary was notorious for breaking his helmet from his jackhammer like hits.
The Chicago Bears have had a long history of phenomenal linebackers, and Singletary is one of the best. From his bone-crushing hits to his pure football IQ, Iron Mike was the complete package on the field.
Whenever there is a highlight reel of the NFL's biggest hits, you can be sure to see Singletary on there somewhere, and that is because Mike was one nasty Bear.
2. Bill George
Bill George was the originator of the modern day middle linebacker position causing him to incidentally create the 4-3 defense.
Drafted in the second round in 1951, George began his career with the Bears as a defensive tackle before transitioning to the MLB spot. He was selected to eight Pro Bowls in a row from 1955-1962.
George is considered one of the meanest Bears to ever suit up with Rick Reilly even calling him "the meanest Bear ever," in a Sports Illustrated special. I don't have him quite that high, but George was ruthless on the field.
He had the strength to play defensive line, combined with the athletic ability and speed to play MLB. When you have tools like that, you're going to be a feared player in the NFL, and George was just that.
1. Dick Butkus
Was there ever any question about who would be considered the nastiest Bear of all time? Not in my mind, as the answer is clearly Dick Butkus.
One of the greatest football players ever for any team at any position, Butkus was THE "Monster of the Midway." It is impossible to talk about the Bears without mentioning the pissed off of a man that Butkus was.
There was not a player more feared in his era. As a eight-time Pro Bowler, six-time all-pro and two-time DPOY Butkus regularly led the Bears in every defensive category except sacks. And had the statistic been recorded when he played, Butkus would be one of the all time leaders at forcing fumbles.
Butkus played with reckless abandon taking no remorse for human life. He was not a guy you wanted to cross paths with.
It is clear Butkus is the nastiest Bear of all time and one of the most storied players in NFL history.
That wraps up my list of the Top 10 nastiest Bears off all time. Disagree with my selections? Feel I forgot someone? Let me know in the comments!