1985 Bears Coverage: Walter Payton on the mend

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Every day of the 2015 Chicago Bears season, Chicago Sun-Times Sports will revisit its coverage 30 years ago during the 1985 Bears’ run to a Super Bowl title.

Walter Payton on the mend

Herb Gould

Originally published Nov. 12, 1985

Walter Payton is on the mend this week with a variety of injuries, including a sore ankle, fluid on the knee, sore ribs and a sore elbow. “He deals with the fluid on the knee, but he hasn’t had an ankle problem in a long time,” coach Mike Ditka said. Payton injured the ankle early in Sunday’s game, but went on to gain 107 yards. “I don’t worry about it. He’ll be there on Sunday. He’s just not going to be able to practice most of the week.”

A few other Bears also are hurting. “We’re pretty banged up. It’s like the walking wounded again,” Ditka said. CB Mike Richardson (hamstring), who has missed the last two games, still may not be ready, Ditka said. TE Emery Moorehead (knee), WR Dennis McKinnon (knee) and OG Mark Bortz also are hurting.

Guard Tom Thayer, who stepped in when Kurt Becker (knee) was injured, won’t give up the job when Becker heals, Ditka said. If healthy, Ditka said, “Becker would play, but he wouldn’t replace Thayer.” Thayer, who played at Joliet Catholic High School and Notre Dame, played three seasons in the USFL and has been playing football

almost continuously for 38 weeks. Asked if he was getting tired, Thayer, the Bears’ fourth-round pick in 1983, smiled, “When you’re 10-0, you can’t get tired.”

Punter Maury Buford got his first introduction to a frigid, wind-swept Soldier Field Sunday. “It was tough, but that’s no excuse for a seven-yard punt. I think I tried to overkick the ball.” He said he can deal with the wind, having kicked on many windy fields while at Texas Tech. As for the temperature, “If it doesn’t get any worse than that, no problem.”

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