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Friday, January 21, 2011
BBAO: Hold the backlash on Gale Sayers

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

We're Black and Blue All Over:

I guess everyone wants to make Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers eat crow now that the Chicago Bears are one step away from the Super Bowl. After all, it was Sayers who expressed serious doubts in May about the Bears' prospects in 2010.

Appearing this week on ESPN 1000, Sayers said he was "very surprised" about the Bears' season but stuck to his guns. "I told it like it was," he said.

I happen to agree. What Sayers said in May was perfectly justified and defensible at the time. He noted that quarterback Jay Cutler didn't do his job well in 2009, questioned linebacker Brian Urlacher's potential for elite play as he approached age 33 and doubted the Bears' depth at receiver and defensive back. A big part of the team's success this season has been the answers it produced at each question mark. But the questions themselves were fair.

Sayers offered a reasonable analysis at the time, one advanced by many others. Sayers' status as a former player didn't rob him of his right to free speech. The only mistake he made was forgetting that anything can happen in the NFL. Anything.

Continuing around the NFC North as the NFC Championship Game approaches: