Former Bears, Illini standout J.C. Caroline dies at 84

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The Bears’ J.C. Caroline runs through falling snow after the weather cancelled practice at Yankee Stadium in New York. Caroline, a star University of Illinois running back in the 1950s who played for the Bears for a decade, died Friday at Carle Hospital in Champaign, officials with Walker Funeral Home said. He was 84. | AP

CHAMPAIGN — J.C. Caroline, a star Illinois running back in the 1950s who played for the Chicago Bears for a decade, has died. He was 84.

The Walker Funeral Home in Champaign says he died Friday at Carle Hospital.

Caroline, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, led the nation in rushing for Illinois in 1953 with 1,256 yards in nine games.

He signed with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League in 1955 before joining the Bears a year later, where he mainly played defensive back. He made the Pro Bowl as a rookie and finished with 24 career interceptions.

Caroline worked as an assistant coach at Illinois before becoming a physical education teacher and coach in Urbana.

University of Illinois spokesman Kent Brown called Caroline “one of the all-time great football players in Illinois history.”

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