Doug Buffone wasn’t the most famous Chicago Bear (he wasn’t among the franchise’s record 27 players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame) nor was he amongst their most accomplished, but few men who have played for the franchise have committed to it the way Buffone has since first playing for the team in 1966.
As a stalwart linebacker across the majority of the ’60s and 70s and later as a broadcaster and one of the most public representatives of the Bears in Chicago, Buffone set an unmistakable example of what it means to ride and die with the team through the best of times and the worst.
None of us here at WARR can remember Buffone’s roughshod play alongside the likes of Dick Butkus back in the day but his run as a commentator across all Chicago media helped set a standard of passion, knowledge and on-air explosiveness that we try to emulate week after week each football season.
There’s only so much offhand that we could give you about what made Doug Buffone a significant Chicago sports legend, so we’ve decided to compile some of the best quotes written about him in the moments following his death Monday.
“Doug was easily one of the most memorable and enjoyable individuals I have encountered in a quarter-century of covering the Chicago Bears. Period. One of the funniest, most honest, most interesting people – not just player – I have had the pleasure of meeting.” — John “Moon” Mullin, CSN Chicago
“You don’t lead your college team (Louisville) in tackles three consecutive years, then play linebacker for 14 years for the Bears without being rough and tough.” — Rick Telander, Chicago Sun-Times
“He was a great guy, a great friend and a hell of a football player. But forget the football — he was one of the good guys. For a sports guy who was pretty big in our town, he handled himself very, very well. He was very humble. He was a good guy — period. I don’t know any other way to put it. I never heard anybody say anything about Doug that wasn’t complimentary.” — Mike Ditka, via Sun-Times
“I had an offer to play for San Diego in the old AFL and it paid more money than the Bears were offering…but I told the Chargers, ‘I was raised in cold weather, I need snow. I’m not gonna play in some town with [bleepin’] palm trees.’” — Buffone in Chet Coppock’s book, “Fat Guys Shouldn’t Be Dancin’ at Halftime,” quoted in Sun-Times
“There was no one tougher on Sundays than Doug Buffone. And he proved it each week over his 14-year career, a tenure record he shared with another great, Bill George, for 33 seasons. His retirement ended a link to our founder as he was the last active player to play for George Halas.” — Chicago Bears official statement, quoted in the Sun-Times
“No Bears game was complete without tuning into the postgame “Doug & OB Show” on WSCR. Week after week, Buffone and his old teammate, Ed O’Bradovich, delivered a brutally honest assessment of the Bears. They were must-listen radio after a loss, where the throwbacks from another era served as conductors of mass venting sessions in Chicago.” — Ed Sherman in the Chicago Tribune (via RedEye)
“Being with Doug the last 49 years, I know that no one person could love a family more than Doug. I know that no one person that played the game of football loved it more than Doug did. The bottom line is he was true and loyal to his family, to football and to his friends. I cannot tell you how much I will miss him.” — Ed O’Bradovich via official statement as reported by Tribune (RedEye)
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