Roger Goodell, Athletes and More React to Dick Butkus’ Death: ‘One of the NFL’s All-Time Greats’

Dick Butkus
Dick Butkus.Photograph:

AP Photograph

The NFL world is in mourning Thursday after the loss of life of Dick Butkus.

The Chicago Bears Corridor of Famer died on Thursday at his dwelling in Malibu, a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Workplace spokesperson confirmed to PEOPLE. He was 80.

“The Butkus Household confirms that soccer and leisure legend Dick Butkus died peacefully in his sleep in a single day at dwelling in Malibu, Calif,” Butkus’ household stated in an announcement launched by the Bears. “The Butkus household is gathering with Dick’s spouse Helen. They respect your prayers and help.”

“Dick Butkus was a fierce and passionate competitor who helped outline the linebacker place as one of many NFL’s all-time greats,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell stated in an announcement. “Dick’s instinct, toughness and athleticism made him the mannequin linebacker whose title will eternally be linked to the place and the Chicago Bears.”

Goodell remembered the late linebacker as “a long-time advocate for former gamers, and gamers in any respect ranges of the sport.”

Dick Butkus
Dick Butkus.

Dylan Buell/Getty

“The Dick Butkus Award and his basis honored achievement on the sector and repair to the neighborhood amongst highschool, faculty and NFL linebackers,” he added earlier than sending his condolences to Butkus’ household and people impacted by his life.

“Dick Butkus was a legend who embodied what it means to be a Chicago Bear,” the Bears shared of their assertion. “Our hearts exit to his household and associates.was a legend who embodied what it means to be a Chicago Bear. Our hearts exit to his household and associates.”

“The NFL is mourning the lack of legendary Corridor of Famer Dick Butkus. Our ideas are together with his household and the Bears group,” the NFL’s assertion learn. The league added a photograph of Butkus from his taking part in days.

Dick Butkus
Dick Butkus.

Tony Tomsic by way of AP

Athletes, together with these past the soccer world, paid their respects to the adorned star.

“That is Mick. I simply realized of the passing of @ChicagoBears LB Dick Butkus. My favourite all-time participant,” WWE wrestler Mick Foley wrote. “I grew up with a poster of Butkus on my wall, and he signed it for me on the one event we met. A real legend. #RIPDickButkus.”

Former Chicago Cubs pitcher and coach Fergie Jenkins shared a photograph of himself with Butkus on a baseball area, including, “One of many best linebackers of all time and one heck of [a] man. Chicago misplaced a legend. #dickbutkus.”

“Dick Butkus wasn’t simply one of many best soccer gamers to ever play the sport, he was a exceptional man. He was all the time there for me once I wanted him. Now, these 3 #Bears legends are in heaven, sharing a drink, on the brink of watch the #TNF sport from the very best seats. This is to you, @thedickbutkus,” Jarrett Payton, the son of one other late Chicago legend, Walter Payton, wrote on X. “Your spirit will stay on eternally. #RIPButkus.”

“Relaxation in peace, Dick Butkus. LEGEND. One of many few whose title was a synonym for ‘NFL,'” Indianapolis Colts proprietor Jim Irsay wrote.

After hanging up his cleats, Butkus appeared in Miller Lite commercials and turned to appearing. He scored off the sector by touchdown a recurring function on the Eighties NBC sitcom, My Two Dads. On the sequence, viewers got here to know him as a restaurant proprietor named Ed Klawicki. 

“I am so sorry to listen to that Dick has handed away,” Staci Keenan, who additionally starred in My Two Dads, stated in an announcement to PEOPLE. “He was such a delicate, candy, quiet man. He did not say a lot, however when he did, he was surprisingly humorous. He wore Birkenstocks again after we labored collectively – they weren’t stylish then – it appeared to be as a result of he had ache from his soccer days, and when he walked, he appeared to be in power ache. However he by no means complained about it.

“My Two Dads did an episode as soon as that included a spotlight reel from what was alleged to be Dick’s character’s soccer profession,” Keenan continued. “(Dick performed a diner proprietor, Klawicki, who was previously a soccer participant). The reel consisted of footage from Dick’s personal real-life NFL profession. Once I noticed it, I could not consider all these large tackles and sacks got here from the light big that I knew.”

Butkus additionally starred within the 1986 teen comedy Hamburger: The Movement Image which was a few faculty for aspiring fast-food franchise homeowners. 

Butkus is survived by his spouse, Helen, and three kids, Ricky, Matt, and Nikki.

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