Dick Butkus

Bears will celebrate the life of Dick Butkus on Sunday against the Vikings

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The Bears announced they will celebrate the life of Dick Butkus during Sunday's home game at Soldier Field against the Minnesota Vikings.

The organization will honor him in different ways several times over the game. They will display his retired No. 51 jersey on the field; an on-field graphic will be displayed on the northwest 10-yard line, too. The players will also wear a No. 51 patch on their jerseys for the rest of the season.

Here are some other ways the Bears will honor Butkus. Several of the ways include opportunities for fan involvement.

Fans are invited to share in the memorial of Dick Butkus by visiting ChicagoBears.com and clicking on the header "Tap here to Tribute."

In the South Courtyard of Soldier Field (Gate 1), there will be a Butkus Memorial; the memorial space is meant to be an area where fans can come and celebrate the legacy of Butkus with his Pro Football Hall of Fame Bust and receive a commemorative Butkus button (while supplies last).

There will be a locker room display (Gate 7) with a Butkus-themed locker paying homage to his white jersey.

Additional No. 51 representation will be in the Ultimate Tailgate (memorial graphic signage), Fan Zone (large football signage), and United Club 100 (bobblehead).

His family and the Bears announced Butkus died in his sleep on Oct. 5. He was 80.

Over his career, Butkus earned eight Pro Bowl nods, five All-Pro selections and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His No. 51 was retired by the Bears, and he has long been one of the team's most iconic figures.

Before his NFL career, Butkus was a defensive star at the University of Illinois, and is one of only two players to have their numbers retired by the university.

"Dick was the ultimate Bear, and one of the greatest players in NFL history. He was Chicago's son. He exuded what our great city is about and, not coincidently, what George Halas looked for in a player: toughness, smarts, instincts, passion and leadership," Bears Chairman George McCaskey said in a statement.

"The Butkus family confirms that football and entertainment legend Dick Butkus died peacefully in his sleep overnight at home in Malibu, California," a statement read. "The Butkus family is gathering with Dick’s wife Helen. They appreciate your prayers and support. Additional information will be provided when it is available.'"

After he was drafted in the 1965 NFL Draft, Butkus played 10 seasons with the Bears, mixing a ferocious approach with brilliant play. He played and started in 119 games, recording 22 interceptions, 27 fumble recoveries, 11 sacks, one touchdown and one safety.

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