5 modern-era Bears who warrant Hall of Fame consideration

Bryan Perez

With the elections of Jimbo Covert and Ed Sprinkle as members of the centennial class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the total number of Bears in the Hall now sits at 30.

The Bears have more Hall-of-Famers than any other team in the league, but there are several modern-era players who deserve strong consideration for the gold jacket. 

Here are five of those Bears who warrant a long look. 

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Devin Hester - return specialist (2006-2016)

Aside from Walter Payton and Gale Sayers, Hester was the greatest playmaker in Bears history. His status as a return specialist might hurt his chances for the Hall of Fame (he didn't establish himself at any traditional offensive or defensive position during his career), but no player brought Soldier Field to its feet more than Hester in the modern era. Hester owns 10 NFL records and 21 Bears records as the greatest return man who's ever lived. He was a three-time first-team All-Pro.

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Lance Briggs - linebacker (2003-2014)

The Robin to Brian Urlacher's Batman, Briggs was one of the top linebackers in the NFL during his 12-year career in Chicago. Briggs was a seven-time Pro Bowler who started 170 of 173 games. By the time his career ended, he totaled 1,174 tackles, 15 sacks, 16 interceptions and six defensive touchdowns. Few linebackers possessed his multifaceted skill set; he thrived against the run and in coverage, and could run sideline to sideline with the most dynamic of offensive skill players.

Olin Kreutz - center (1998-2011)

One of the best offensive linemen to ever play for the Bears, Kreutz spent 13 seasons in Chicago and holds the team record for the most games played by an offensive lineman. Kreutz, a six-time Pro Bowl selection from 2001-2006, was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame All-2000s Second Team.

Charles "Peanut" Tillman - cornerback (2003-2015)

Tillman was one of the most impactful Bears defenders of the modern era. He mastered the art of the forced fumble, which resulted in the term "Peanut punch" being coined for his trademark strike. Tillman logged 153 starts in 12 seasons with the Bears. Tillman forced an incredible 44 fumbles during his time in Chicago including a career-high 10 in 2012. 

Matt Forte - running back (2008-2017)

Forte revived the Bears' rich running back tradition during his eight years as Chicago's starter. He averaged 4.2 yards per carry on 2,035 career rushes for 8,602 yards, which ranks second-best all time in the Bears' record books behind only Payton. Forte wasn't only a productive runner, either; he was a dual threat who caught 487 passes for 4,116 yards and 19 touchdowns. He scored 64 total touchdowns as the centerpiece of Chicago's offense.

5 modern-era Bears who warrant Hall of Fame consideration originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

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