Chicago Bears: 10 Best Defensive Players of All Time

Bryan DietzlerSenior Analyst IFebruary 3, 2011

Chicago Bears: 10 Best Defensive Players of All Time

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Can you believe that it’s been 25 years since the Bears won a Super Bowl?  Super Bowl XX was one of the greatest showcases of team defense that hasn’t been seen since.  There may be many people that will argue this point but the Bears defense in 1985 was the best defense in the NFL.  They had many solid individuals on that side of the ball that helped them achieve the historical feats that they managed to accomplish that season.

    That is why there are many guys from that team that rank as part of the top ten defenders in Chicago Bears history.  This list is full of those guys that helped earn the Bears their first and only Super Bowl victory.

    So let’s take a look at the ten best defensive players of all time for the Chicago Bears spanning their long history from their beginnings in the 1920’s to today. (This list is in no particular order).

Mike Singletary-LB

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Singletary played on the best defense in Chicago Bears and NFL history and was the heart and soul of that defense.  The middle linebacker has always an important position in the Bear’s defense and Singletary was the best middle linebacker that they have ever had.  Fans will always remember the look on his face (and his eyes) as the game moved forward as well as the ferocity that he brought on each hit he had.

    He was one of the most intense players in the NFL when he was on the field and is one of the most “remembered” Bears in Chicago Bear’s history.  He is also a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Richard Dent-DE

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    Mike Powell/Getty Images

    Will this finally be the year that Richard Dent, the great Chicago Bears defensive end and MVP of Super Bowl XX makes it into the Hall of Fame?  We will soon find out but it’s clear that with such a spectacular career in Chicago during one of its best times, he’s well deserving of the honor.  As mentioned, Dent was the MVP of Super Bowl XX and is near the top in sacks in the league’s history.  

    He came into the league as a long shot and surprised everyone with his ability to get to the quarterback and change games on a regular basis and helping to make the Bears 46 defense work.  He was a force off the edge of the line and made opposing offenses have to game plan around him.

Bill George-LB

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    George has been considered by many to be the first true middle linebacker in NFL history.  He started out his career with the Bears as a middle guard and ended up stepping back and standing up which led to his being a middle linebacker in the Bears’ defense.  That isn’t the only thing that he’s famous for however.  

    George was a solid player making eight Pro Bowl appearances as well as being elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1974.  Some of the numbers that he put up include 18 interceptions to go along with 19 fumbles recovered.

Brian Urlacher-MLB

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Urlacher’s career with the Bears has been somewhat legendary and he has helped the Bears defense be one of the better defenses in the NFL over the past few seasons.  If you want proof that Urlacher’s presence on defense means a lot to that side of the ball look at how things shaped up for them in 2009.  With Urlacher out of the lineup for all but one half of a football game the defense struggled.

    This season, they were much better with Urlacher in the lineup.

    He has been selected to seven Pro Bowls and has won both the Defensive Player of the Year (in 2005) and the NFL Rookie of the Year honor (in 2000).

    Is he a future Hall of Famer?  If history continues to repeat itself (see Mike Singletary and Bill George) he’s a sure thing.

Dan Hampton-DT/DE

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Hampton was yet another player in that well known Bears defense from their Super Bowl winning season and was selected as a member of the Hall of Fame as well.  Hampton, known as Danimal during those days, was a force in the middle of that defense and on the end and was known as one of the meanest players in the NFL at the time that he played.

    Hampton was another important part of that Bears defense and a key performer in their Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots.  He is one of the many faces of the best defense in NFL history and will be forever remembered as a fan favorite.

Dick Butkus-LB

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    Just saying his name is enough to bring chills to those who played against this tough middle linebacker in the 1960’s.  Butkus was one of the most feared defenders during his time and is known as one of the most feared of all time in the NFL.  A member of the Hall of Fame, Butkus was selected to eight Pro Bowls and was voted as an All-Pro six times during his career with the Bears.

    He was a hard hitter causing a lot of fumbles during his time in Chicago and remains one of the Bears most popular players of all time.

Doug Atkins-DE

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    Atkins is known as one of the most feared defenders in Chicago Bears history.  Atkins played defensive end back in the mid 1950’s to the mid 1960’s for the Bears after playing for the Cleveland Browns for one season and was known for his stature (Atkins was a six foot eight inches tall) and gave opposing offensive linemen trouble in each game that he played.

    Atkins is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and is known as one of the best defensive ends in Chicago football history.

Clyde Turner-LB

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    Also known as “Bulldog”, Turner was yet another popular player on defense for the Bears during the 1940’s on into the early 1950’s and played both linebacker and center for the Bears.  Like most other players on this list, he’s a member of the Hall of Fame and had at one time led the NFL in interceptions.

Steve McMichael-DT

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Steve “Mongo” McMichael played for the Bears back during their famous Super Bowl season and was an important part of that stifling defense.  Teaming up with Hampton and the rest of the Bears defensive line, McMichael was an important part of their pass rush and ability to keep running backs from running the ball on that tough defense.  His ability to be intimidating and make plays made him stand out from other players that played during that period of time

Harold Grange-DB

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    Many people know of “Red” Grange as being a running back but he was a defensive back when he played for the Bears.   So why put him on the list when he is better known as an offensive player rather than a defensive player?  Grange had some key plays as a defensive back when he was back playing on defense and deserves some credit for helping Chicago’s defense be successful while he was there in the 1920’s and 1930’s.

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