Best Jayhawks in the NFL – Number 1: Gale Sayers
NFL running back from 1965-1971
A lot of casual NFL fans probably don’t know that Gale Sayers played for the University of Kansas, but he did, and he’s their best alum to ever play in the NFL.
A first-round pick by both the Chicago Bears and Kansas City Chiefs in 1965, Sayers chose to play in the NFL for the Bears. He went on to become one of their best running backs in team history.
Sayers was the highest KU player taken in an NFL draft (or AFL draft) and was voted NFL Rookie of the Year in 1965.
Sayers rushed for 4,956 yards in seven years and had 48 total touchdowns during that time. He rushed for over 1,000 yards twice during his time with the Bears.
Unfortunately for Sayers, injuries derailed the former Jayhawk’s career and he was forced to exit the league earlier than he’d have liked to. He tried a comeback in 1972, but fumbled frequently during the preseason and had to hang the cleats up early.
While Sayers never won a Super Bowl during his NFL career, he was a four-time Pro Bowler and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.
Sayers was the highest KU player taken in an NFL draft (or AFL draft) and was voted NFL Rookie of the Year in 1965. He had 22 total touchdowns that year, which is crazy for back then.
It’s possible that the high production throughout his first few years is what eventually led to Sayers’ early exit from the pros, but he’s still the best Kansas Jayhawk to ever play in the NFL.