NFL Network Names KU Great Sayers 22nd-Best Player of All Time

Nov. 7, 2010

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Former Kansas great Gale Sayers was named the 22nd-best player in NFL history by the NFL Network.

The network recently completed a series entitled, The Top 100: NFL’s Greatest Players. To produce the rankings, NFL Films polled a panel of former players, historians, scouts, team executives and writers. The panel chose from a ballot of 261 names, which included every member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. They considered players from every era, including current NFL players.

The top five, in order, were receiver Jerry Rice, running back Jim Brown, linebacker Lawrence Taylor, quarterback Joe Montana and running back Walter Payton. To see the full list visit click here.

Sayers was a two-time All-American at Kansas in 1963 and 1964. He ran for 2,675 yards and produced 3,917 all-purpose yards in his Jayhawk career. He led KU in rushing, touchdowns and kickoff returns all three years he was in the lineup.

Sayers became the first player in NCAA Division IA history to record a 99-yard run when he broke loose against Nebraska in 1963.

Sayers was a first-round draft pick by the Chicago Bears and led the league in rushing in 1966 and 1969. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977 at the age of 34, the youngest person ever selected.

“Having played four and a half years, 68 ball games, to be number 22 on the list, I’m very honored,” Sayers said. “There are so many great players throughout the history of the league, and I’m pleased they rated me so high on the list.

“They’re all great players, but I will say my personal No. 1, without a doubt, is Jim Brown. “I think he’s the best ever. Back when we played, the hash marks were out so wide that defenses would stack the wide side of the field to shut down the running game. If the hash marks were where they are today when Jim Brown played, he would have rushed for 30,000 yards.”