Wish to buy at the moment’s print version? Right here’s a map of single-copy areas.
All through the day, we’ll share recollections of Dick Butkus, as instructed to The Information-Gazette within the hours since his passing. Up subsequent: fellow former Illini Kevin Hardy, Carey Davis, J Leman, Ron Ferrari and John Mackovic, who first met the linebacking legend whereas recruiting his son for Illinois. “Evidently, I used to be a bit nervous to be pitching to a younger man and his father, the best defensive participant in NFL historical past.”
Joined Dana Howard as Illini Butkus Award winners in back-to-back years (1994-95)
“One of many funniest moments I had at Illinois was after they requested me what quantity I wished to put on as a freshman and I mentioned ’50.’ After they began laughing, I did not understand Butkus wore 50 and it was retired. So I took 51 (Butkus’ quantity with the Bears).
“After I gained the award in Orlando, I used to be speaking to Butkus and I instructed him I believed it was fairly cool that they put my quantity on the trophy. He simply smiled and gave a little bit chuckle. I used to be clearly kidding, however I do not know if he discovered that humorous.
“Lastly, I actually appreciated his hospitality towards my household. He took quite a few pics with my mother and father through the years, in addition to this picture with me and my youngsters at a recreation just a few years in the past. He was a dwelling legend.”
4 bowl journeys in 4 seasons as Illini soccer coach
“My reminiscence of Dick Butkus is from the time I used to be recruiting his son for the Illini. Evidently, I used to be a bit nervous to be pitching to a younger man and his father, the best defensive participant in NFL historical past.
“Dick couldn’t have been extra pleasant and relaxed as we mentioned what Illinois soccer was like now. I stored ready for his opinions on this system, however he reserved all ideas to permit me to current this system to his household.
“He was whole class. All he wished was one of the best for his son. I went away as a big Dick Butkus fan.”
Former Illini fullback a member of Steelers’ 2008 Tremendous Bowl champs
“I don’t assume anybody personifies Illinois soccer higher than Dick Butkus.
“I keep in mind watching NFL Movies as a child in highschool and seeing how violently he performed the sport. The few instances I did get to fulfill him, briefly, he was extraordinarily good and all the time complimentary of our group.
“By some means, we might all the time know when he was on the recreation. He was there to see his nephew Luke, however I believe all of us wished to guarantee that we performed the sport the correct approach. With depth and violence that might make him proud.”
Former Illini linebacker gained a Tremendous Bowl ring with 49ers
“Rising up in central Illinois, all of us seemed ahead to seeing the Bears play Sunday and watching Dick play in his prime. Simply wow.
“As younger boys, we did our greatest to intimidate him — his stroll, his snarl, his depth. He was full-on a dwelling superhero to all of us.
“Years later, my senior 12 months at Illinois, with Mike White main a resurgence within the soccer program, all of us had the privilege a having Dick go to us at follow in Champaign.
“All of us was little boys once more as the thrill of dialog began after we observed him on the sideline. I rapidly made my approach over to see Dick and reached out to shake his hand to say ‘hello.’ My hand disappeared into his grasp.
“Like all nice gamers within the NFL, his depth on the sector was balanced with a real heat and kindness off the sector. When he talked with you, he made you are feeling such as you had been finest mates. He was curious, light and a really proud Illinois alum.
“I’d have cherished to have been his teammate.”
Like Butkus, Illini linebacker a consensus All-American (2007)
“I keep in mind Dick Butkus coming to talk to us after we went to play at Rose Bowl in 2008. I had all the time considered him as a legendary determine, seeing him on NFL Movies and different media.
“I even have all the time cherished infomercials. I keep in mind he offered a conveyable grill product and the setting was an infomercial on the seashore of Lake Michigan close to Chicago. I all the time cherished to check infomercial hosts and the way they may all the time maintain making the deal higher and higher till you known as the 800 quantity. I used to be banned from doing that, LOL.
“Once I met him on the Rose Bowl, he was so all the way down to earth, however on the identical time grizzled and difficult. As an alum, I bought to know him as a person who had an awesome wit and humorousness.
“He instructed me this story one time: On the 1964 Rose Bow, they determined to leap offsides in opposition to Washington on the primary play to intimidate them. However Washington snapped the ball early and so they ended up firing out with good timing to the snap, inflicting havoc within the backfield that led to a fumble.
“Illinois recovered the fumble, setting the stage for Illinois’ final Rose Bowl victory.”