Roger LeClerc, who was a member of the Chicago Bears‘ 1963 NFL championship team as a kicker, died on Thursday at 84 years old.
The Bears made the announcement of LeClerc’s death on Friday. LeClerc also played for the Denver Broncos in what was the American Football League in 1967 for his final season.
LeClerc also was a two-way player for the Bears, occupying spots at center and linebacker. He played under legendary Chicago Bears coach and NFL Hall of Famer George “Papa Bear” Halas.
As a kicker, LeClerc made 76 of 152 field-goal attempts with his longest field goal coming in at 50 yards. He converted 152 of 158 point-after attempts.
Roger LeClerc Also Played With Dick Butkus In Chicago
LeClerc also played in what was the rookie season for Chicago Bears linebacker Dick Butkus in 1965.
Now both Roger LeClerc and Butkus played at linebacker, yet it was Butkus whose career ended up being a Hall of Fame-credible one.
When asked about his on-field style, Butkus put it this way.
“I want to let them know they’ve been hit,” Butkus, who turned 78 late in 2020, said. “When they get up they don’t have to look to see who it was that hit them. Shouldn’t be any puzzle. When they come-to they gotta say ‘It must’ve been Butkus that got me.’”
His domination at the middle linebacker spot is something many other players like future Bears legend Brian Urlacher, Ray Lewis, and Patrick Willis followed in Butkus’ footsteps.
Butkus Earned His Nickname ‘Mr. Animal’ On The Field
Butkus received eight Pro Bowl invitations, was a six-time All-Pro, and received the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year award twice. Pretty good stuff for a player who played 119 NFL games and earned the nickname “Mr. Animal.”
He played all nine seasons of his NFL career with the Bears, who retired his No. 51 jersey.
Butkus was able to see this season’s Chicago Bears get into the NFL playoffs at 8-8. They were part of the NFC Wild Card weekend, losing to the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Defensive end/linebacker Khalil Mack was ready for the Saints’ showdown. The matchup was Mack’s second-ever playoff game with the Bears. As a result, the Pro Bowler seemed like he was more excited than ever to hit the gridiron.
“It’s win or go home, man,” Mack said. “I can’t wait.”
H/T: Pro Football Talk