The take a look back at the “other” Bears linebacker from the 60s and 70s, Doug Buffone
Who is the first Chicago Bears linebacker people think of when you mention the 1960s and 1970s? The legendary Dick Butkus, of course. And rightly so, because he was one of the most dominant and intimidating figures in the history of the league. However, another linebacker arrived in Chicago the year after Butkus and was a mainstay on Bears defense for 14 seasons: University of Louisville star Doug Buffone.
Arrival in Chicago
Buffone arrived as a 4th Round Pick in the 1966 NFL Draft. The 6’3″, 230 pounder was installed at LOLB and stayed there for the duration of his career. Along with Butkus, they formed a formidable tandem of linebackers for the Bears until Butkus’ retirement following the 1973 season.
On-field performance and retirement
While not the superstar that Butkus was, Buffone was a solid linebacker for 14 seasons with the Bears. He finished his career with 9 fumble recoveries and 24 interceptions. Although not an official statistic until 1982, he was also credited with 15 sacks. He had a career high 158 tackles in 1972. At the time of his retirement following the 1979 season, Buffone had played more games (186) than any other Chicago Bears player, a record that was later eclipsed by Steve McMichael (191) and then Patrick Mannelly (245). He was also the last active player to have played under George Halas as a coach and received quite the send off in his last game.
Doug Buffone’s post-retirement years, legacy, and death
Buffone stayed in the public eye following his retirement as a Chicago sports broadcaster. He hosted or co-hosted shows for WSCR 670 AM and was also a producer on other ones such as The Neal Anderson Show and The Mike Ditka Show. As an entrepreneur, he was part owner of several Chicago-based businesses including Gibson’s Steak House. Buffone passed away at his residence on April 20, 2015 at the age of 70.
While he may not have been the splashy name of Chicago Bears linebackers, Doug Buffone was a solid player for a long time in the Windy City, as well as being a successful broadcaster and businessman.
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