Chicago Bears’ All-Time Receiving Yardage Leaders
Chicago Bears' Super Bowl Shuffle
The Chicago Bears have been around since 1920, when they were known as the Decatur Staleys. They became the Bears in 1922, and the team has a winning tradition, with 9 championships including one in the Super Bowl era. This is a team that has always been built on defense and a strong running game, like most cold weather franchises. But beyond that, it’s kind of surprising that the Bears’ all-time leading receiver had barely over 5000 yards receiving. Then again, maybe it’s not that surprising. Here is a list of the all-time Top 10 in receiving yards for the Bears’ franchise:
Johnny Morris (5059)—Johnny Morris played his entire career in Chicago, from 1958 to 1967 and made the Pro Bowl twice, including once as a first team All Pro in 1964. Morris leads the Bears all-time with 5059 receiving yards, and his best season was that ’64 campaign. That year, Morris had career highs in receptions (93), receiving yards (1200), and touchdowns (10). Even more incredible is the fact that each of those three categories led the NFL that season.
Harlon Hill (4616)—Harlon Hill played most of his career with the Bears, from 1954 to 1961, and made the Pro Bowl his first three seasons, including first team All Pro twice. Hill ranks second in Bears’ history with 4616 receiving yards, and his best season there was 1956, when he caught a career high 47 passes for 1128 yards (also career best) with 11 touchdowns. Hill’s 24.0 yards per catch that season led the NFL.
Walter Payton (4538)—Walter Payton is not only one of the great Bears players in history, he’s one of the NFL’s all-time greats. Payton led the NFL in rushing yards (16,726) until a few years ago when Emmitt Smith surpassed him. Payton was more than just a great running back, however. He played for the Bears his entire career, from 1975 to 1987, and made the Pro Bowl an astounding nine times, five times as a first team All Pro. Payton also ranks third in franchise history with 4538 receiving yards. In 1983, Payton had career highs in receptions (53) and receiving yards (607) with 2 touchdown catches, while also racking up 1421 rushing yards and 6 rushing TDs.
Mike Ditka (4503)—Tight end Mike Ditka is a Bears’ legend, both as a player and coach. Ditka began his playing career in Chicago and played there from 1961 to 1966, making the Pro Bowl his first five seasons including twice as a first team All Pro. Ditka ranks fourth in Bears’ history with 4503 receiving yards, and his best season was 1961. That year, Ditka caught 56 passes for career highs in yards (1076) and touchdown receptions (12). What might be most remarkable about that season for Ditka, though, is his 19.2 yards-per-catch average, an amazing statistic for a tight end.
Curtis Conway (4498)—Curtis Conway played most of his career in Chicago, from 1993 to 1999, and ranks fifth in team history with 4498 receiving yards. Conway never made the Pro Bowl, but was consistent. His best season for the Bears was 1996, when Conway caught a career high 81 passes for 1049 yards and 7 touchdown receptions. He also carried the ball 8 times for 50 more yards.
Marty Booker (3895)—Marty Booker began his career in Chicago, playing there from 1999 until 2003, and then returned to the Bears in 2008. Booker ranks sixth in franchise history with 3895 receiving yards, and his best season was his lone Pro Bowl year of 2002. That season, Booker caught 97 passes for a career high 1189 yards with 6 touchdowns.
Willie Gault (3650)—Willie Gault was a track star in the Olympics and naturally a burner on the football field. Gault played his first five seasons in the NFL with the Bears, from 1983 to 1987, and ranks seventh in their history with 3650 receiving yards. Gault had his best season in a Bears’ uniform in 1983, when he caught 40 passes for 836 yards and a career best 8 touchdown catches.
Ken Kavanaugh (3626)—Ken Kavanaugh played his entire career in Chicago, from 1940 to 1950, minus a few years serving in World War II. Kavanaugh made the Pro Bowl his first two seasons, and ranks eighth in Bears’ history with 3626 receiving yards. His best season was 1947, with career highs in receptions (32), receiving yards (818) and touchdown catches (13, which led the NFL that season). Kavanaugh also had a remarkable 25.6 yards per catch that season.
Dick Gordon (3550)—Dick Gordon began his career in Chicago and played there from 1965 to 1971. Gordon ranks ninth in franchise history with 3550 receiving yards and made the Pro Bowl twice, once as a first team All Pro. His best season was that All Pro year of 1971, when Gordon had career highs in receptions (71), receiving yards (1026) and TD catches (13)—the receptions and touchdowns led the NFL that season.
James Scott (3202)—James Scott played his entire career for the Bears, from 1976 to 1983, and ranks tenth in team history with 3202 receiving yards. In his rookie season, Scott had 26 receptions for career highs in receiving yards (512) and touchdown catches (6).