Drafted in the first round back in 1994, the Bear’s John Thierry has passed away at just 46 years old. Thierry was drafted 11th overall and spent five seasons with the Bears. He was originally a defensive end from Alcorn State. Thierry attended the Bears’ alumni weekend functions at Soldier Field that were scheduled around the Sept. 10 opener against the Falcons.
“That’s the last time I saw him, and he looked good, damn good for his age,” said former teammate James “Big Cat” Williams said. “We hung out that weekend. This is a shock. I feel bad for everybody.”
Marcus Spears – former Bears offensive lineman – posted on Instagram Friday night that Thierry suffered a massive heart attack. The Bears released the following statement on Saturday afternoon: “The Chicago Bears offer their deepest condolences on the passing of former linebacker John Thierry. Our thoughts and prayers go out to John and his family.”
Thierry made an appearance in 73 games for the Bears and made 28 starts. He had 12½ sacks and one interception and is tied for the franchise record for fumble recoveries in one game with three in a 35-32 victory over the Oilers on Oct. 22, 1995. Thierry had seven sacks in his one season with the Browns in 1999 as they converted him to linebacker after the Bears’ largely failed experiment of creating Theirry an undersized rush end. During the 1977 season, Thierry suffered a torn ACL that then slowed him the following year.
“This is the position I played all my life,” Thierry said after joining the Browns and moving to linebacker according to Tribune back in 1999. “This is home for me. My mind was always at linebacker. If anything, you have to be happy to excel.”
Thierry later signed with the Packers and had 10 sacks in 28 games for them in 2000 and 2001. He then finished his career with the Falcons back in 2002. Thierry made a total of 119 tackles with nine sacks as a senior at Alcorn State in 1993 and was first-team All-Southwestern Athletic Conference. When he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.58 seconds at 6-foot-4, 248 pounds, he became a popular draft prospect.
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