Roosevelt Taylor, 82, safety on Bears’ 1963 title team, dies

NFL Dallas

Roosevelt Taylor, a star safety on the Chicago Bears’ 1963 NFL championship team, has died. He was 82.

The team said he died Friday but did not provide details.

An All-Pro in 1963 when the Bears won the title, Taylor played his first nine NFL seasons with Chicago, 1961-69, appearing in every game. A ballhawk, he led the league in interceptions in 1963 with nine, also making the Pro Bowl.

Chicago was 11-1-2 in that championship season, winning all eight games in which Taylor made an interception.

He also made the Pro Bowl in 1968. The next year, he was dealt to San Francisco for guard Howard Mudd and spent 2 1/2 seasons with the 49ers, then was Washington’s free safety in 1972. The Redskins lost to Miami in the Super Bowl that season, with the Dolphins finishing off their perfect record.

In all, Taylor had 32 interceptions, 23 with the Bears. He ran back three for touchdowns and also scored on a fumble return.

Taylor was undrafted in 1961 out of Grambling University, where he walked onto the football team and became a star. The Tigers and Hall of Fame coach Eddie Robinson won the school’s first SWAC championship in 1960 with Taylor.

Taylor’s son, Brian, was a running back with the Bears and Buffalo Bills for a short time.

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