NFL experience: 11 years (1983-93)
Years with Bears: 1983-89
Career stats: 20 INT, 1 TD, 16.0 SACK
1985 stats: 5 INT, 0 TD, 2.0 SACK
The Bears’ 46 defense required the strong safety to play in the box like a linebacker, and no one could fulfill that role like Dave Duerson. Some plays, he would cover a slot receiver, and other plays, he would be blitzing the quarterback.
Duerson notched two sacks during the 1985 season, and the next year, he picked up seven sacks, an NFL record that stood for 19 years for most sacks by a defensive back.
Off the field, Duerson always was involved in his community and won the Man of the Year Award in 1987, before the award was renamed after his teammate, Walter Payton. Duerson owned several McDonald’s restaurants in the Louisville area and also owned an interest in a sausage company.
Duerson suffered from brain disease later in life, and it was linked to the concussions he had while playing football.
In 2011, he sent text messages to his family saying he wanted his brain to be used for research, and then Duerson committed suicide with a gunshot to his chest.
Neurologists confirmed that Duerson suffered from CTE, and he was portrayed in the 2015 film "Concussion," which depicted the battles between the physician who discovered CTE and the NFL.