CHICAGO (CBS) — As the Chicago Bears prepare to celebrate their centennial season, fans will soon be able to visit statues of Hall of Fame inductees Walter Payton and George S. Halas at Soldier Field.
The Chicago Bears announced the 12-foot, 3,000-pound bronze statues will be unveiled outside of Gate 0 on Sept. 3, two days before the season opener against the archrival Green Bay Packers.
Officials said the statues were sculpted by Chad Fisher of Fisher Sculpture.
Connie Payton: "What a proud moment for all of us and the city of Chicago. We’re not just Chicago Bears fans, we’re family."
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) August 7, 2019
Patyton was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993. He held 16 NFL records when he retired and still holds the 27 Bears records including most career rushing yards, most career touchdowns, most career net yardage and most career receptions. A nine-time pro bowler, Payton was named the NFL Player of the Year and Most Valuable Player in both 1977 and 1985.
“I know Walter would be humbled to have this honor bestowed upon him, just as Jarrett, Brittney and our entire family are,” said Connie Payton. “To say that I am enthusiastic about unveiling this statue to the city of Chicago is an understatement. What a proud moment for all of us and the city of Chicago. We’re not just Chicago Bears fans. We’re family.”
Halas founded the team in 1920, when the franchise started as the Decatur Staleys, before moving to Chicago in 1921 and changing its name to the Bears in 1922. Halas also was the head coach for 40 years. A Chicago native, Halas went to Crane Tech High School and the University of Illinois.
“It is only appropriate that the father of professional football and the greatest player in the history of the game are being honored in this way and perhaps no better time for the unveiling than as we kick off our centennial season,” said Bears chairman and Halas grandson George McCaskey. “Thank you to the Chicago Park District, Soldier Field and SMG for their support throughout the process and to sculptor Chad Fisher for his artistry in bringing his subjects to life.”
The Bears previously unveiled a statue of Halas outside the team’s Lake Forest practice facility, Halas Hall, in 2015. That 8-foot-8-inch 1,600-pound bronze statue also was created by Fisher.