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Friends, family lay ex-Bear Duerson to rest

Hard-hitting safety praised for generosity

CHICAGO – Otis Wilson remembered the long days on the golf course with Dave Duerson.

It wasn’t necessarily that they were spraying shots all over the place. It was that his old teammate always had something on his mind, particularly his children.

“Dave was just so proud of you guys,” Wilson said during his eulogy Saturday, looking right at Duerson’s three sons and daughter.

That’s how Wilson chose to remember Duerson on Saturday – not as the hard-hitting safety who terrorized receivers, not as the guy who helped that legendary 1985 Chicago Bears shuffle to the championship, and certainly not as the man who took his own life last week.

To the friends and family who jammed a Southside Chicago church for his memorial, he was simply a kind and generous man whose caring nature belied his reputation as a ferocious hitter.

A four-time Pro Bowl pick who played on Super Bowl winners with the Bears and New York Giants, Duerson committed suicide at his home in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla. He was 50.

Duerson’s death rocked former teammates and coaches, who recently said he had seemed to be in good spirits after going through financial problems and a divorce the past few years. At a reunion of the 1985 Bears championship team a few months ago, he told them he was planning to get married again in April and seemed optimistic about his future.