Mike Pyle

For the mixed martial artist, see Mike Pyle (fighter).
Mike Pyle
Date of birth (1939-07-18)July 18, 1939
Place of birth Keokuk, Iowa
Date of death July 29, 2015(2015-07-29) (aged 76)
Place of death Highland Park, Illinois
Career information
Position(s) Center
College Yale
NFL draft 1961 / Round: 7 / Pick: 89
Career history
As player
1961–1969 Chicago Bears
Career highlights and awards
Pro Bowls 1
Career stats

Michael Johnson Pyle (July 18, 1939 – July 29, 2015) was an American football center who played nine seasons between 1961 and 1969 for the Chicago Bears.


Pyle was born in 1939 to William Palmer Pyle, an executive with Kraft Foods and Cathryn Johnson Pyle in Keokuk, Iowa. He has two brothers: William Palmer Pyle Jr. (who played offensive guard at Michigan State University and with the Baltimore Colts, the Minnesota Vikings and the Oakland Raiders) and Harlen Pyle.

Pyle attended New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois, where he wrestled and threw the discus and shot put in addition to playing football. He was an Illinois state wrestling champion in 1957 in the heavyweight division. He also won a state championship in 1957 for his efforts with the discus and set a state record on his way to winning the shot put title, as well.

He graduated in 1957 from New Trier and went on to Yale University, where he was a member of Skull and Bones. He played center for the Bulldogs and captained the undefeated 1960 team.

Chicago Bears

Pyle played nine seasons with the Chicago Bears from 1961 through 1969 where he played for George Halas. In 1963 he earned a Pro Bowl berth and served as the Bears offensive team captain from 1963 through his retirement. He was named to the Sporting News First Team - All Conference and the UPI Second Team - All NFL in 1963 and to the New York Daily News All NFL team in 1965.

Broadcast career

After his retirement in 1969, Pyle was a broadcaster for WGN radio, where he was the Bears pre and post game program host, as well as the host of a Sunday sports talk show. He later co-hosted the "Mike Ditka Show" when Ditka coached the Bears.

In 1974 he served as color commentator on the broadcasts of the WFL's Chicago Fire on WJJD.[1]

Post career health problems

Several years after retiring from the NFL, Pyle began to suffer from symptoms of dementia. His condition eventually worsened, and his family was forced to put him into a full-time assisted living facility. Pyle went to Silverado, a national chain that has an arrangement with the NFL to treat all former players with at least three years of service — and dementia — free of charge.

‘‘We have treated about 20 NFL players — we have about a dozen right now,’’ Loren Shook, the president and CEO of Silverado Senior Living, says. ‘‘This is under the ‘88 Plan’ with the NFL.’’

The 88 Plan is a brain trauma program named for Hall of Fame tight end John Mackey, whose number was 88. Mackey was in a near vegetative state from CTE by the time he died in 2011.[2] Pyle died on July 29, 2015 from a brain hemorrhage.[3][4]


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