CHICAGO (AP) — Dick Butkus, a fearsome middle linebacker for the Chicago Bears, has died, the team announced Thursday. He was 80.
According to a statement released by the team, Butkus' family confirmed that he died in his sleep overnight at his home in Malibu, California.
Butkus was a Hall of Famer whose bone-rattling tackles made him one of the most intimidating players in NFL history. He was the quintessential modern linebacker, a disruptive force who roamed sideline to sideline and left a trail of broken opponents behind.
He was a first-team All-Pro selection five times and made the Pro Bowl in eight of his nine seasons before knee injuries forced his retirement at age 31. Despite a short career, Butkus came to define his position. He routinely ranks among the NFL's top 100 players.
Playing off his tough-guy image, Butkus later acted in movies, TV shows and commercials.
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