One of the more poignant moments of ESPN's 30 for 30 on the '85 Bears was when members of Buddy Ryan's famed 46 Defense read a letter from their former defensive coordinator, often fighting back tears while reading it. Ryan, who was in poor health at the time and died Tuesday, was unable to attend any of the reunion festivities surrounding the premiere of the documentary earlier this year.
Here is the transcript of that letter, which was signed "Coach Buddy Ryan 46":
To my guys,
In 1981, many of you signed a letter to George Halas to save my job. Now I’m writing a letter to all of you to say thanks. I wish I could be there to say it in person, but this will have to do.
Thank you to the Super Bowl Champion 1985 Chicago Bears, the greatest football team in NFL history. You gave me the best memories of my coaching life.
You all mean the world to me. I’ll love every one of you until the day I die.
I told you this a long time ago, and it’s still true: You guys will always be my heroes.