July 15, 2024

Projecting three future Hall of Famers for the Chicago Bears

The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s class of 2024 will officially be inducted on Aug. 3.

With less than a month until the annual event in Canton, Ohio, we’re examining which players — past and present — on the league’s 32 teams we think will one day receive a similar honor. 

Here are three Chicago Bears who should eventually receive football immortality:

Linebacker Lance Briggs

Briggs was the heart of the Bears’ defense over a 12-year career, emerging as a versatile difference-maker at linebacker. A seven-time Pro Bowler and one-time first-team All-Pro, he’s ranked 19th all-time with 944 solo tackles (97 for loss), adding 84 pass defenses, 16 forced fumbles, 16 interceptions and 15 sacks in 173 games, all with Chicago.

Only three linebackers in NFL history have equaled or surpassed those totals. Meanwhile, they all did so over a much longer stretch than Briggs, including Karlos Dansby (212 games), London Fletcher (256 games) and Hall of Famer Ray Lewis (228 games).

Briggs’ lack of All-Pro selections is glaring, but for most of his career, he was battling for a spot alongside the likes of Derrick Brooks, Clay Matthews and DeMarcus Ware.

The former Bears standout retired following the 2014 season, so he’s been eligible for a while now. Maybe it’s time Canton finally came calling. 

Cornerback Charles Tillman

Tillman was a solid cornerback and leader from the jump but didn’t start to get recognition until much later in his career.

Over his first eight seasons in the NFL, Tillman averaged 83 tackles, 15 pass defenses, four interceptions and four forced fumbles. But upon receiving his first Pro Bowl (2011, 2012) and All-Pro (2012) nods, he was producing nearly at the same rate, posting 84 tackles, 15 pass defenses, seven forced fumbles and three interceptions per year.

Often overlooked, Tillman was a model of consistency and also a unique game-changer. The NFL has seen its fair share of impactful defensive players, but no player in history has combined for more career forced fumbles (44) and interceptions (38) than the former Bears standout. 

Linebacker Khalil Mack 

Mack is already on the Hall of Fame radar as an eight-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro. He is still active, playing for the Los Angeles Chargers, but the No. 5 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft made a massive impact during his time with the Bears.

Over his four seasons with Chicago, Mack was a force, recording 36 sacks over 53 games. From 2018 to 2021, just eight players had more, with only Chandler Jones doing so in fewer games (52).

Mack is only the 64th player in NFL history to surpass the century mark in sacks. Meanwhile, just three players have posted more (101.5) over their first 151 games, including Dexter Manley (103.5), Mark Gastineau (107.5) and J.J. Watt (114.5).