Dave Duerson Dead: Recent Demons May Have Consumed Him

Quarterback Don Majkowski of the Green Bay Packers attempts to evade Chicago Bears defensive back Dave Duerson during a game at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears won the game, 16-0. (Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Dave Duerson had everything going for him in 1985 and beyond. But a downward spiral in the Super Bowl XX Bears veteran ended up in his death at 50 Thursday.

Shocking. Stupefying.

There's no other words available to process the news that former All-Pro safety Dave Duerson, one of the younger mainstays of the 1985 Bears, was found dead at age 50 in his Miami apartment Thursday night.

The only rationalization for the bulletin was this was somehow the end result of downward spiral in Duerson's life -- one you could have never forecast getting to know the guy amid the Super Bowl-bound circus that was the '85 Bears.

Duerson was the Bear from that team I got to know best. Forging relationships with big-name Bears was a lot easier a generation ago, when the Pete Rozelle influence of accessibility permeated the NFL, and team handlers did not carefully guard their charges and choreograph almost all their movements. The Bears had a platoon of larger-than-life characters in '85, but third-year pro Duerson was well-grounded. He was articulate and glib; you could call him at home and he apparently took his Notre Dame education seriously. Fellow safety Shaun Gayle was similarly approachable. It's both amazing and sad how both endured tragedy later in life, with Gayle's fiancee allegedly being murdered by a jealous romantic rival.

Being able to talk football and life with a good guy like Duerson humanized the Bears as everyone wanted a piece of them, and they delivered, from the "Super Bowl Shuffle" to the 46-10 wipeout of the Patriots in Super Bowl XX. In subsequent years, you were hardly surprised when Duerson became an NFL labor activist, then a successful businessman running a Kenosha-based sausage company while remaining active in Notre Dame affairs.

More recently, though, you cringed when you heard how Duerson's offshoot food business failed and his Highland Park home went into foreclosure. You were nearly made sick when he pleaded guilty to a domestic battery charge involving wife Alicia, who seemed a sweet person and was faithfully at his side through the Bears' whirlwind seasons. Notre Dame distanced themselves from Duerson in this period.

After all of that, he had to move to one end of the country, in Miami, away from the city in which he had gained so much respect.

For different reasons, you figured Duerson and Walter Payton would be long-lived veterans of the '85 Bears. One had his head on ramrod straight and the other took such religiously good care of his body. Both died before they navigated much middle-age life. They're the first two players from Chicago's most legendary team to pass away.

That's an inevitability for every member of that club, but it's still incomprehensible when the news breaks.  But maybe it's also a dual reminder that 1985 was a long time ago, and never to let things get away from you in a still-too-short lifespan.

Trending Discussions

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SB Nation Chicago

You must be a member of SB Nation Chicago to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation Chicago. You should read them.

Join SB Nation Chicago

You must be a member of SB Nation Chicago to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation Chicago. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.