(CBS) News of Doug Buffone’s death on Monday afternoon hit the 670 The Score family hard, as he meant the world to so many here.
After a 14-year career as a Bears linebacker in which he left everything on the field, Buffone in his later years became known for his passion on our airwaves as a football expert and co-host of Bears postgame shows. From family to friends to fans, everyone seems to have a favorite Buffone story, and that’s certainly the case here at The Score.
In dealing with the difficult Monday, we found the best way to cope was to remember Buffone at his best … or funniest … or craziest. In the past 24 hours, you’ve heard many Buffone stories, but we opened the floor up for anyone here who wanted to share words on Buffone.
So here goes, some of our favorite memories and thoughts on Doug Buffone. Rest in peace, Doug.
Mitch Rosen, 670 The Score operations director
“When I think of Doug Buffone, I think of a great person, a great human being, a great father and a great husband. I do not even think about the football player. Doug was a Chicago guy and a Score guy. There will never be another Doug Buffone.”
Laurence Holmes, 670 The Score host
“What always stands out to me about Doug is how accessible he was. The postgame show never stopped. Any Bears fan who wanted his opinion would get it. For me, it was always great to see him travel down to Bourbonnais. I always wanted to know when he was going to be there so I could sync up my schedule with him. And down there, you would see him interact with Bears fans, roaming the sidelines, watching practice. Usually, I’d get called over and he would ask me what I’m seeing and to give me background on some of the players. Imagine that — Doug asking me for my info and my opinion. It meant a lot to me that he would value what I had to say. It also made me very vigilant about what I was telling him. He always took the time to tell you your favorite ‘Doug’ stories, but he also wanted to know what you knew and just chat football. I’ll take that with me forever.
“It cracked me up that if you were looking for Doug in Bourbonnais — he was either at the Bears practice or eating at Coyote Canyon (a steak buffet). He was just a real guy.”
Ed O’Bradovich, co-host of Bears postgame with Doug, former teammate and lifelong friend
“I can easily say this — there’s not a one, one individual who played for the Bears, that respected the Bears and wanted to win and wanted to be the world champion more than Doug. He gave everything he had.”
David Schuster, 670 The Score reporter/host/update anchor
“The first time I met Doug, I’ll admit I was a little intimidated — and that was rare for me because I’ve dealt with so many athletes over the years. Doug was the ex-NFL player who I saw in person play very physical each time out. So I had this impression of a brooding hulk who I imagined would be the same off the field as he was on it. And I couldn’t have been more wrong. Doug turned out to be the proverbial gentle giant, an absolute big teddy bear. He was kind, open and beyond gracious. And unlike many ex-athletes, he wasn’t the least bit full of himself. In fact, he was humble and always was willing to help everyone and often offered without being asked.Doug was a man’s man but had a gentleness to him that made you very comfortable around him. And again, unlike many ex-athletes, he loved talking to everyday people. At remotes, at the station or anywhere out in public, Doug just loved conversing with people. It was genuine, and that’s why people gravitated toward him. Nothing fake about that man. He was real through and through.”
“I used to go on with both Doug and OB after games when I traveled on the road, and I always looked forward to coming on with them afterward. It didn’t make a difference if the Bears won or lost, although it certainly was more interesting when they lost. These two guys forgot more about football than I’ll ever know, but they made me feel special and significant, and it’s some of the best radio I ever was part of.
“I finally got to cross off one of my wishes from my ‘Bucket List’ when I got to watch a few games with them back at the station. Not only did I learn some words I never heard of before (words not for the air), but they educated, entertained and hypnotized me all at the same time. Martin and Lewis had nothing over Doug and OB.
“I’m not saying anything that every single other person hasn’t already echoed when I say that Doug was a special man who led a special life — albeit one that was cut too short.
“It really hurt hearing the news Monday that Big Doug was gone. Truly shocking, but after the hurt subsided, the great memories started flooding in and a smile came to my face. And that’s the feeling I want to remember going forward when I think of Doug Buffone.”
Mike Esposito, 670 The Score weekend host
“I got to work with Doug on the Bears postgame show. It was one of my first duties when I started at the station in 2005, doing updates for Doug and OB. I was a fan of the show before I started working here, and it was a thrill to be able to watch the games with them and listen to them discuss the game afterward. Doug was a great guy, humble despite his achievements, always nice to everyone, regardless of their position.
“I was the new guy, and never once did he make me feel like anything less than an equal. He was as genuine as they come, the same in person as he was on the air. It was work but also a labor of love, and you felt it working with him. Our Bears coverage won’t be the same without him, but more than that, we will miss the great man and friend that he was to everyone at the Score.”
Mark Grote, WBBM host/670 The Score update anchor/former Bears pregame host on 670 The Score
“I was always a bit envious of my co-workers at The Score who had had the opportunity to work Doug. I was also skeptical of the tales told about this man and the soft touch which countered a knockout punch. And then I had the chance to work with Doug. We watched a Bears game together and conducted the postgame show. He yelled, he screamed, he ate, he smiled and he laughed. Afterward, he drove me back to the city from the suburbs, and we had a wonderful conversation. The soft side is real, and I’m lucky to have witnessed it.”
Chris Rongey, 670 The Score host
“He gave me a big bear hug last time I saw him several months ago. A big hug from a big Bear. I never saw him play, but Doug is my favorite Bear.”
Tim Baffoe, CBSChicago.com columnist
“To then listen to Doug talk — or put another way, laugh, cry and holler about the same games about which we were yelling at our TVs — was to know him because he connected with all of us in the most unique of ways.”
Nick Shepkowski, 670 The Score producer
Shepkowski produced this open for the Spiegel and Goff Show on Tuesday morning following Monday’s news.