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Bronko Nagurski

Bronislau “Bronko” Nagurski (November 3, 1908 - January 7, 1990) (FB) played nine years in the National Football League and what one of the most impactful players in league history until he hung up the cleats to become a professional wrestler in 1938. The subject of folklore and legend, Bronko starred for the University of Minnesota as a fullback on offense, running through or over would-be tacklers and played tackle on defense, delivering bone-crushing hits. In 1929, he played five positions against the Iowa Hawkeyes – end, tackle, guard, halfback and fullback. He was voted and All-American at the tackle position in 1929 and he led the Golden Gophers to an 18-4-2 record in his college career. Nagurski joined the Chicago Bears in 1930 and played his entire NFL career in The Windy City (1930-1937, 1943). George Halas and the Bears utilized the superstar player at every turn, using him in the backfield, one the offensive and defensive lines and at the quarterback position. Nagurski ran for 2,778 rushing yards scoring 25 touchdowns and threw for another 474 yards and seven touchdowns. One of his most famous touchdown passes came in the 1932 League Championship game, when he threw a jump pass to fellow Hall of Famer Red Grange for a touchdown that completed the Bears championship run. He helped the Bears win a second consecutive title in 1933. Bronko was a four-time All-Pro First Team selection. While he wowed fans on the gridiron and eventually retiring in 1937, he also enjoyed a second career as a professional wrestler winning the NWA World heavyweight title three times. In 1943, as players enlisted in the service during World War II thereby depleting the NFL, Bronko returned to the Bears and led them to another NFL Championship, before retiring permanently at year’s end. Bronko Nagurski was a charter inductee in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951. In 1993, the Bronko Nagurski Award was created to honor the pest defensive player in college football.

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