What is Dick Butkus’s Net Worth?
Dick Butkus is a retired American football player for the Chicago Bears who has a net worth of $8 million. Dick Butkus played as a middle linebacker in the NFL for the Chicago Bears from 1965 to 1973. Prior to that, he was a star college football player at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. After retiring from playing, Butkus ventured into acting, sports commentating, and philanthropy. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979. Butkus was selected to eight Pro Bowls and was all-league six times.
Early Life and High School
Dick Butkus was born on December 9, 1942 in Chicago, Illinois as the youngest of eight children of Lithuanian immigrant John, who worked as an electrician for the Pullman-Standard railroad car manufacturing company, and Emma, who worked at a Laundromat. He grew up on the South Side of Chicago in the Roseland neighborhood. As a teenager, Butkus went to Chicago Vocational High School, where he played football at a number of different positions. He went on to become a star high school athlete, and in 1959 was the first junior ever to be named Chicago’s high school player of the year by the Chicago Sun-Times.
Heavily recruited out of high school, Butkus ultimately decided to attend the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. There, he played center and linebacker on the Fighting Illini football team from 1962 to 1964. Butkus had his greatest season at U of I in 1963-64, when he led his team to an 8-1-1 record and a Rose Bowl victory. Consequently, he was named MVP of both the Fighting Illini and the Big Ten. As a senior, Butkus once again was named Illini MVP, as well as Lineman of the Year by UPI and Player of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association.
Chicago Bears, 1965-1970
In 1965, Butkus was drafted by both the NFL’s Chicago Bears and the AFL’s Denver Broncos. Although the Bears offered less money than the Broncos, he couldn’t resist the chance to play for his hometown team under coach George Halas. Butkus went on to make his debut for the Bears at middle linebacker, a position in which he made an almost immediate impact. Due to his success, he was invited to the Pro Bowl, his first of eight consecutive appearances. Butkus had another impressive year in 1966, and was named to multiple All-Pro teams.
Butkus scored the first points of his NFL career in November of 1969 in a 38-7 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. For his safety – and his 25 tackles – he was named NFL Defensive Player of the Week. Unfortunately, this was to be the Bears’ only win of the season; the team finished with a franchise-worst record of 1-13. Despite this dismal performance, Butkus built a reputation as one of the top players in the league, and was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year by the NEA for both 1969 and 1970.
Chicago Bears, 1971-1973
In September of 1971, the Bears played their first game at Chicago’s Soldier Field, their new official home. Butkus gave one of his greatest performances yet in the game, erasing a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter to mount a major comeback win against the Steelers. He finished the season with team-leading stats of 117 tackles and four interceptions. Butkus also scored a game-winning point in the closing minutes of a game against the Washington Redskins, a play he would later call his favorite of his career. In 1972, Butkus made it to his eighth and final Pro Bowl.
Butkus played his final year of football in 1973. Although his season was truncated after nine games due to a persistent knee injury, he managed to score the only touchdown of his career when he leapt on a fumble in the end zone in a game against the Houston Oilers. Ultimately, Butkus’s injury forced him to retire, which he did in May of 1974.
Renowned for his tough tackling ability and for defining the position of middle linebacker, Butkus has been the recipient of numerous honors for his legendary football career. In 1979, he was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and in 1983 was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Butkus was later inducted into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame, the National Lithuanian American Hall of Fame, and the Lincoln Academy of Illinois. Moreover, he has frequently been ranked among the greatest NFL players of all time, appearing on lists by such publications as the Sporting News and the New York Daily News.
Film and Television
Following his playing career, Butkus acted in numerous films and television shows. His film credits include “The Longest Yard,” “Gus,” “Cracking Up,” “Johnny Dangerously,” “Necessary Roughness,” and “Any Given Sunday.” On the small screen, Butkus had main roles on such series as “Blue Thunder” and “My Two Dads,” and also appeared in episodes of “Vega$,” “MacGyver,” and “Murder, She Wrote.” Additionally, Butkus has done commercial endorsements for various brands, including Prestone, Miller Lite, and Echo Tools.
Butkus has also done color commentary and analysis for radio and television. In 1985, he joined Wayne Larrivee and Jim Hart for radio broadcasts of Bears games. Later in the decade, he served as a replacement analyst on the CBS television pregame show “The NFL Today.” Among his other appearances, Butkus appeared on the 2005 ESPN reality series “Bound for Glory,” which featured him coaching the Montour High School football team in Robinson, Pennsylvania.
Personal Life and Philanthropy
While still a student at U of I in 1963, Butkus wed his high school sweetheart and fellow Illini Helen Essenberg. Together, they have three children named Ricky, Matt, and Nikki.
On the philanthropic side of things, Butkus created his own Butkus Foundation to contribute to charitable causes. Through the Foundation, he administers the Butkus Award, an elite individual honor for linebackers. The Foundation also runs initiatives supporting cardiovascular health and combating steroid use among high school athletes.