Reflecting Back on Dave Duerson
Having been a Chicago Bear’s fans since their Super Bowl winning season in 1985 I have become very familiar with many of the players that have come and gone in Chicago. Some of my favorite players in both Chicago Bears and NFL history came out of that team that played in 1985 and in subsequent seasons. Some of those guys include Richard Dent, Walter Payton and the late Dave Duerson.
Duerson hasn’t been mentioned by too many as one of the better players on that roster back in 1985 but he played a pretty important part in helping the Bear’s defense become the best and most dangerous in the NFL back in 1985. While most of the focus on the defense went to those guys up front (the defensive linemen and linebackers) the secondary had an important part of helping to make that defense successful.
During that Super Bowl season Duerson played in and started in 15 games for the Bears and recorded two sacks and five interceptions that season to help the Bears defense become one of the most dominant in NFL history.
Duerson was drafted out of the University of Notre Dame in 1983 in the third round with the 64th pick in that year’s draft. He ended up playing in all 16 games for the first two years he was with the team.
Chicago let Duerson go in the 1990 season and he ended up spending one season with the New York Giants and during that lone season in New York he won his second Super Bowl ring. He then moved on and played three seasons with the (then) Phoenix Cardinals before finally retiring from football for good.
Following his career in football, Duerson had a very successful time in the business world and owned restaurants and a company that provided sausage products to restaurants. After selling his stake in the company, Duerson attempted to start his own company but had to give that up.
Unfortunately, Duerson went through some family problems that ended in a messy divorce. Duerson remained pretty quiet afterwards spending some time doing an internet radio show and trying to get things put back together.
Prior to his death, he had requested that his brain be donated for studies that link concussions to problems suffered by NFL players. This move, which some call surprising, was his last wish and perhaps one that will give us some deeper insight into his death.
Taking it from a fan’s perspective, I will always remember Duerson as a tough, hard-nosed football player who played the game with a lot of intensity and a lot of skill. I will always remember him as one of the quiet ones on that defense in 1985 a defense that was brash and boastful and remains one of the best in NFL history.
My family had been lucky enough to have a brief association with Duerson in the early 2000’s with his company and had a chance to meet him. I remember that my father remarked about the two Super Bowl rings that Duerson wore during the meeting and how big they were. He also made some positive comments about Duerson’s professionalism and how intelligent he was.
Duerson will be forever remembered for his part in the Bears Super Bowl season back in 1985 and will be thought of as a quiet person that didn’t really conform to what most of his other teammates did that season. And he will be missed.
Duerson is the third member of the 1985 Bears to pass away. Todd Bell, the player that Duerson actually replaced when he (Bell) held out during the entire 1985 season died of a heart attack in March of 2005. Running back Walter Payton passed away in 1999.