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Former Bears coach Abe Gibron dies at 72

September 24, 1997 GMT

CHICAGO (AP) _ Abe Gibron, a burly 25-year veteran of professional football who ended his career coaching the Chicago Bears, has died at age 72.

Gibron, known for his sense of humor and his appetite, died Tuesday at his home in Belle Air, Fla.

Gibron won a lot of friends with a sense of humor that made him as popular with his players as he was with reporters.

On Mondays in Chicago when he met with reporters, he’d raise a shot of whiskey and declare: ``All right, everything is on the record until this touches my lips, and the minute it touches my lips, everything is off the record.″


Gibron entered the pro ranks as a guard out of Purdue in 1949, joining Buffalo of the All-American Football Conference. That was followed by a seven-year stint with the Cleveland Browns, during which he played in six NFL championship games.

The Michigan City, Ind., native joined the Bears in 1958 after a season in Philadelphia and played for two more seasons before retiring as a player.

He was an assistant coach with the Washington Redskins for four years before joining the Bears’ coaching staff in 1965.

He became Bears head coach in 1972, inheriting a bad team that continued to struggle through his three seasons in the job.

His Bears won only 11 games, lost 30 and had one tie.

The teams always struggled in the latter stages of each season.

His 1972 team went 4-9-1, losing six of its final seven. The 3-11 team the next season dropped its final six games.

And in 1974, when the Bears finished 4-10, they lost seven of their final eight.