Richard Butkus is an former professioanl football player, sports commentator, and actor. Born in Chicago, Illinois, Butkus played his entire football career in his home state, which began at Chicago Vocational High School. Butkus was drafted by the Bears as the third overall pick in the 1965 NFL Draft. He played professional football as a linebacker for the Chicago Bears of the NFL from 1965 to 1973.
Through those nine seasons he was invited to eight Pro Bowls, named a first-team All-Pro six times, and was twice recognized by his peers as the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year. In his NFL career, he intercepted 22 passes, recovered 27 fumbles (a record when he retired), and was responsible for causing many more fumbles with his jarring tackles. Butkus is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most intimidating linebackers in pro football history. As a college football player at the University of Illinois, he was a linebacker and center for the Fighting Illini. A two-time consensus All-American, he led the Illini to a Rose Bowl victory in 1963 and was deemed the most valuable player in the Big Ten Conference, and in 1964 he was named college football's Lineman of the Year by United Press International.
In 2009, the NFL Network named Butkus the most feared tackler of all time. Following his playing career, Butkus began careers in acting, sports commentary, and celebrity endorsement. He is active in philanthropy through the Butkus Foundation, which manages various charitable causes.