Former Bears QB Bob Avellini dies at 70

Larry Brown Sports

Former Chicago Bears quarterback Bob Avellini has died at the age of 70.

Avellini had been battling cancer before his death, according to the Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs.

The Bears selected Avellini in the sixth round of the 1975 NFL Draft. The Maryland alum started four games as a rookie before becoming Chicago’s primary starting quarterback from 1976 to 1978.

Avellini recorded 560 completions for 7,111 yards with 33 touchdowns and 69 interceptions across his nine-year playing career.

Avellini enjoyed his most success as a starter in 1977 when he led the 9-5 Bears to the playoffs. 1977 also happened to be the year when legendary Bears running back Walter Payton won both the MVP and Offensive Player of the Year awards.

The Bears, however, were blown out 37-7 in their 1977 Divisional Round matchup against the Dallas Cowboys. The loss was Avellini’s lone playoff appearance in the NFL.

With two games left in the 1978 campaign, Avellini was benched in favor of Mike Phipps. The Bears had started 4-8 in Avellini’s last full year as a starting QB. Avellini remained in Chicago as a backup QB until he was released midway through the 1984 season. He parted ways with the Bears one year before the team’s first and only Super Bowl win.

The veteran QB had brief stints with the New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys but never saw action after leaving the Bears.

Avellini also faced some legal troubles following his retirement in 1986. He was arrested multiple times for various DUI charges from 2002 to 2014.

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