Link Lyman was one of the very first professional football players of note. Lyman was born in Table Rock, Nebraska. His large family moved to northwest Kansas where they farmed. At the high school in McDonald, Kansas, there was not enough students to have a football team. That might sound unusual, but in rural areas it was sometimes the case. Today, many rural areas are struggling again and schools have been consolidated.
When Lyman attended the University of Nebraska, he had his first opportunity to play football. Lincoln was a big city for farm boys. At Nebraska, Lyman played with another early big-time athlete, Guy Chamberlin. Lyman was an excellent tackle and played for the Canton Bulldogs, the Cleveland Bulldogs, and the Frankfort Yellow Jackets before he joined the Chicago Bears in 1926. He played in Chicago from 1926-1934 except for 1929 and 1932. Lyman was a load at 6-foot-2 and 233 pounds, a big man for those days. He exemplified the tough rural athletes of the day.
Lyman played for Guy Chamberlin-coached Championship teams in Canton ( Bulldogs, 1922, 1923), Cleveland (Bulldogs, 1924), and the George Halas-coached Chicago (Bears, 1933). When Lyman came to the Bears, he took part in the highly-successful Barnstorming Tour that featured Red Grange in 1925-1926 that added needed dollars into team coffers. Lyman was a 2-time All Pro, a 4-time NFL Champion, and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1964, the second HOF Class. Lyman contributions to the Bears earned him a position on the list of 100 Top Bears of All Time.
Lineman might have been overlooked by fans for many years, but Halas always knew how important they were to the success of the team. For Halas, Lyman was a great tackle and one of the Bears Hall of Famers. Opponents on the opposite line did not like to grapple with Lyman.
Image: Papa Bear and the Chicago Bears’ Winning Ways cover, illustration by Bill Potter.
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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. Great offer today.