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Read Buddy Ryan’s emotional letter to the ’85 Bears

In 1981, a group of Bears defenders wrote to team owner George Halas asking that he retain defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan along with the rest of the defensive staff.

Thirty years later, coach Ryan wrote back.

Ryan’s letter, which was featured as part of ESPN’s “30 for 30″ film “The ’85 Bears,” reads as follows:

To my guys,

In 1981, many of you signed a letter to George Halas that saved my job. Now I’m writing a letter to all of you to say thanks. I wish I could be there to say it in person, but this will have to do.

Thank you to the Super Bowl champion 1985 Chicago Bears, the greatest team in NFL history. You gave me the best memories of my coaching life.

I’ll love every one of you until the day I die. I told you this a long time ago, and it’s still true.

You guys will always be my heroes.

Coach Buddy Ryan, 46

Ryan, 81, was retained, and would coach four more seasons in Chicago, where he designed his famed “46″ defense.

He left to become the head coach of the Eagles in 1986, but not before helping guide the Bears to the ’85 Super Bowl, where, according to the film, he told his unit, “You guys will always be my heroes.”

“If Buddy had stayed here in Chicago, I guarantee you, we would have won three Super Bowls. And probably in a row,” Otis Wilson said during the film.

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Stats via Pro-Football-Reference