Jay Hilgenberg was born in Iowa City, Iowa, and attended Iowa City High School. He then went to the University of Iowa where he played football like his father Jerry Hilgenberg. He was an undrafted free agent who was picked up by the Chicago Bears. Reliable and steady (two critical qualities for a professional lineman), he played for the Bears from 1981-1991 and then finished out his career with the Cleveland Browns (1992) and the New Orleans Saints (1993). He was a 2-time All Pro and was invited to the Pro Bowl 7 times. As starting center, he was a valuable man in the middle and critical to the Bears great teams of the 1980s including their Super Bowl run in 1985. He is named among the Top 100 Bears of All Time.

Along with his father, other NFL players in the family included Jay’s uncle Wally who played linebacker for the Vikings and his brother, Joel, who played center for the Saints.

PAPA BEAR AND THE CHICAGO BEARS’ WINNING WAYS reviews the exciting story of George Halas and his dynamic role in professional football for those in middle school and older. Author: Patrick McCaskey. 

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