sayers gale
Gale Sayers

  • He graduated as KU’s career rushing leader with 2,675 yards on just 412 carries
  • After 2 NFL rushing titles in just 7 seasons, Sayers was forced to retire in 1972 after a career-ending knee injury
  • He retired with 6 NFL records
Sayers, Gale
Inducted 1976

Born: May 30, 1943 – Wichita, Kansas

Graduated: Central H.S. (Omaha, NE), 1961; University of Kansas, 1976; MS – University of Kansas, 1977

Overview

A two-time consensus football All-American at Kansas in 1963 and 1964 and five times unanimous All-Pro for the Chicago Bears, Gale Eugene Sayers, the “Kansas Comet” is considered one of the greatest running backs in NCAA and National Football League history.

Career at KU

He graduated as the Jayhawks’ career rushing leader with 2,675 yards on just 412 carries. Sayers rushed for 283 yards against Oklahoma State in 1962 and set a record with his 99-yard run versus Nebraska in 1963.

NFL Career

A first round draft choice of both the AFL’s Kansas City Chiefs the NFL’s Chicago Bears, Sayers exploded onto the NFL as a rook with the Bears in 1965 when he rushed for 867 yards and scored 22 touchdowns. In a spectacular rookie performance against San Francisco, he compiled 336 total yards and scored six touchdowns. The next year, “Gallopin’ Gale” led the NFL with 1,231 yards rushing and added 762 kick return yards and 447 receiving to set a league record of 2,440 total yards. Following injury-shortened seasons in 1967 and ’68, Sayers returned in 1969 to win his second NFL rushing title. Another knee injury eventually shortened his brilliant career as he retired in 1972 at the age of 29. Despite paying only 64 games, Sayers retired with 4,956 rushing yards and was named the greatest running back in the first 50 years of the NFL. He retired with six NFL records.

Honors

In 1977, at age 33, he became the youngest player ever inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That same year he was inducted into the college Football Hall of Fame and in 1996, he was named to the all-time All-Big Eight team.