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Article posted: 12/7/2012 6:00 AM

Bears' hall of famer Richard Dent visits Naperville to discuss memoir


Richard Dent, a star of the 1985 Super Bowl-winning champion Chicago Bears, will visit Naperville this week to present his new book, "Blood, Sweat and Bears."

Fans can meet Dent at a book signing beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, at Anderson's Bookshop, 123 W. Jefferson Ave., Naperville. Purchase of the book at Anderson's includes a number to join the signing line. Please note that no memorabilia will be autographed. For details, call Anderson's at (630) 355-2665 or visit andersonsbookshop.com.

Dent, a cornerstone of the Bears' overwhelming defense during the team's Super Bowl run and a 2011 inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, was an eighth-round draft pick out of tiny Tennessee State in 1983.

The tall and skinny rookie would become a four-time Pro Bowl selection who also played for the San Francisco 49ers, Indianapolis Colts and Philadelphia Eagles. Dent wound up his 15-year career with 137.5 sacks, eight interceptions, 13 fumble recoveries, and two touchdowns.

But Dent's fascinating story -- told for the first time in "Blood, Sweat and Bears" -- is more about a young man beating the odds than about a football player racking up statistics.

Having come out of a small college with less fanfare than many of his high-profile peers, Dent talks about the inherent disrespect he received, especially early in his career, even though his production rivaled that of most other players at his position.

The book, written with veteran Chicago Tribune sports writer Fred Mitchell, takes the reader behind the scenes, into the huddle and inside the locker room of one of the fiercest, most dominant defenses in NFL history.

Having played in the NFL during a time before violent helmet-to-helmet tackles were not forbidden, Dent discusses the direction of the current game in his candid book.

"Fans want to see hard hits and collisions," Dent says. "If the NFL wanted to make the game perfectly safe, they would have the players wearing leather helmets and soft shoulder pads. But who would want to spend their money to come out and watch that?"

Dent also discusses Hall of Fame teammates such as Walter Payton and his at-times turbulent relationship with coach Mike Ditka. He also adds his opinions on "the bounty system" and NFL players' struggles with concussion issues.

A quarter of a century after the brash Bears filmed "The Super Bowl Shuffle" music video before winning the championship game, Dent is ready to tell his personal saga, as well as the rest of the intriguing story behind the 1985 Bears.

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