|Dave Duerson returned kicks in Super Bowl XXV. (George Rose/Getty Images)|
Dave Duerson, Pro Bowl safety won titles with Bears and Giants
CHICAGO — Dave Duerson, a four-time Pro Bowl safety who played on Super Bowl winners with the
The Bears released a statement yesterday saying they were “stunned and saddened’’ by the news and called Mr. Duerson “a great contributor to our team and the Chicago community.’’
Miami-Dade police Detective Robert Williams says the body was found Thursday in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla.
Investigators have not determined the cause of death. Detectives are awaiting the medical examiner’s report.
Mr. Duerson’s former wife, Alicia Duerson, told NBC Chicago that he “loved and cherished his family’’ and was “extremely proud’’ of Notre Dame and the Bears.
A native of Muncie, Ind., Mr. Duerson was a third-round draft pick by the Bears in 1983 out of Notre Dame and became a key figure on one of the greatest defenses ever assembled.
Who can forget the 1985 team mauling opponents while shuffling to the championship with Hall of Famers such as Mike Singletary, Dan Hampton, and Richard Dent up front? With Todd Bell sitting out the entire season, Mr. Duerson played a big role in the backfield with five interceptions that year and made the first of four straight Pro Bowls.
“He was a great player for us,’’ coach Mike Ditka said. “He stepped in and did a great job. It’s very sad.’’
A year later, he picked off a career-high six passes while setting what was an NFL record for sacks by a defensive back with seven. That mark stood until 2005, when Arizona’s Adrian Wilson had eight.
Mr. Duerson would go on to win another Super Bowl with the 1990 Giants after being released by the Bears and spent three years with Arizona before retiring after 11 seasons.
Emery Moorehead, a tight end on the ‘85 team, said: “He was a man’s man. Smoked cigars. Just a personable guy. . . . He had a lot of people that loved him everywhere.’’
“Our hearts go out to the Duerson family and to all those who knew Dave,’’ Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said in a statement. “In addition to being a great football player, Dave represented himself and the university in so many other ways as a team captain, as well as through his work with the Monogram Club and the Board of Trustees. You couldn’t help but be impressed by him when you met Dave Duerson, and I think that was the reaction from anyone who was ever around him.’’
Ray Ellis, the sports channel director at Voice America Sports, where Mr. Duerson had a radio show streamed live over the Internet, said he tried to reach Mr. Duerson Thursday when he did not host his regular program.
Yesterday morning, a friend informed Ellis of Mr. Duerson’s death.
“If you looked at him visually, Dave Duerson looked like he could play strong safety today,’’ Ellis said.
He added that Mr. Duerson recently told him he had gotten engaged and planned to marry in late spring or early summer.
Ellis said Mr. Duerson’s show was not typical sports talk. He discussed a range of subjects and liked to highlight athletes’ accomplishments and good work off the field.
“There was so much more to Dave than being a former Chicago Bear,’’ Ellis said. “Dave took pride in his accomplishments off the field.’’