Illinois announces plans to unveil Dick Butkus statue in 2019

Photo of Illinois announces plans to unveil Dick Butkus statue in 2019

One of the most legendary defensive players in the history of football is getting a statue.

Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman announced Monday that the school will be erecting a statue in honor of iconic alum Dick Butkus that is set to overlook the entrance to the school's football performance center.

"Dick Butkus is the greatest defensive player in the history of football, and he embodies the identity of the Illinois football program," Whitman said. "His toughness was legendary. His competitiveness was unparalleled. And, his Illini pride is without peer. As we construct the new home for Illinois football, we have a wonderful opportunity to celebrate Dick's legacy. We hope that the Butkus statue will serve as a daily reminder to all those who enter the building of what it means to be a Fighting Illini."

Butkus earned Big Ten MVP honors in 1963 along with consecutive Consensus All-American honors in 1963-64. He would then go on to become one of the greatest linebackers in NFL history with the Chicago Bears, resulting in his election to both the College Football Hall of Fame as well as the NFL Hall of Fame.

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