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WAMC Sports Report 10/6/23: Dick Butkus, fearsome Hall of Fame Chicago Bears linebacker, dies at 80

FILE - Chicago Bears linebacker Dick Butkus poses for a photo in 1970. Butkus, a fearsome middle linebacker for the Bears, has died, the team announced Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023. He was 80. According to a statement released by the team, Butkus' family confirmed that he died in his sleep overnight at his home in Malibu, Calif. (AP Photo, File)
FILE - Chicago Bears linebacker Dick Butkus poses for a photo in 1970. Butkus, a fearsome middle linebacker for the Bears, has died, the team announced Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023. He was 80. According to a statement released by the team, Butkus' family confirmed that he died in his sleep overnight at his home in Malibu, Calif. (AP Photo, File)


Fearsome Chicago Bears middle linebacker Dick Butkus has died at the age of 80. The team said in a statement that he died Thursday. Citing his family, the team said Butkus died in his sleep at his home in Malibu, California. Butkus was a Hall of Famer whose bone-rattling tackles made him one of the most intimidating players in NFL history. He was the quintessential modern linebacker, a disruptive force who roamed sideline to sideline and left a trail of broken opponents behind. Despite a short career in which he retired at 31, Butkus came to define his position. He later acted in movies, TV shows and commercials.

Justin Fields connected with DJ Moore for 230 yards and three touchdowns to help the embattled Chicago Bears pick up their first win of the season by beating Washington 40-20. Fields matched his career high set last week with four TD passes. Chicago's victory came hours after word emerged of the death of franchise great Dick Butkus. The Bears snapped a 14-game losing streak dating to last season. Washington fell behind 27-3 at halftime and lost a third consecutive game.

Washington Commanders part-owner Magic Johnson has chided his NFL team for showing no intensity or fire in a 40-20 loss to the previously winless Chicago Bears. Coach Ron Rivera's Commanders produced another terrible first half and fell into a 24-point hole against Chicago on Thursday night. That led to boos from the home crowd. Eventually, Washington briefly displayed some competence but wound up losing against an opponent club that hadn’t won a game in nearly a year. Washington's defense was supposed to be a strength under Rivera but Washington Commanders could not slow down Justin Fields and DJ Moore. Washington has lost three games in a row and allowed at least 33 points in each of its past four outings.

Billy Eppler has resigned after two seasons as New York Mets general manager, and a person familiar with the probe said he is under investigation by Major League Baseball. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation. The person (and did not disclose the nature of the probe, but the New York Post was first to report Thursday that Eppler is being investigated by MLB for improper use of the injured list. His surprising resignation came three days after David Stearns was hired above Eppler as the Mets’ first president of baseball operations. Eppler spent the past two seasons running baseball operations for New York in his role as GM.

Evan Carter hasn’t been overwhelmed since jumping right into the playoff chase with the Texas Rangers. The speedy young outfielder just keeps getting on base. Carter reached base in seven of his eight plate appearances while Texas swept Tampa Bay in the AL Wild Card Series. The Rangers advanced in the playoffs for the first time since 2011. Texas plays at Baltimore in Game 1 of the A.L. Division Series on Saturday. Carter made his big-league debut on Sept. 8, only 10 days after his 21st birthday. He hit .306 with five homers in 23 regular-season games.

British singer Calum Scott says he'll visit Philadelphia and perform his pop hit “Dancing On My Own” if the Phillies win the World Series after the song resurfaced as their postseason anthem for the second straight year. Scott said there were talks with the Phillies last postseason about a performance, but his world tour put any plans on ice. His calendar is open and he's rooting for the Phillies to go all the way. Philadelphia starts an N.L. Division Series against the Atlanta Braves this weekend.

In postseason action, best-of-five Division Series kick off tomorrow, with the Rangers in Baltimore at 1:03 p.m. and the Twins playing the Astros at 4:45 on the A.L. side. On the N.L. side, the Phillies will play the Braves at 6:07 tomorrow night, and Arizona playing the Dodgers at 9:20 p.m in LA.


Minnesota       111      Dallas  99       

Reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid has told USA Basketball that he intends to play for them at the Paris Olympics. Embiid let the federation and managing director Grant Hill know of his decision this week and revealed it publicly Thursday. USA Basketball does not plan to name its team until the spring of 2024, but if healthy, Embiid would seem certain to have one of the 12 spots on the squad that will be coached by Golden State’s Steve Kerr.


Boston 3          N-Y Rangers   1         

Philadelphia    5          N-Y Islanders  2


The 2023 WNBA Finals begin Sunday at 3 p.m. in Las Vegas, with the Aces taking on the New York Liberty in a best-of-five series. The Liberty won their best-of-five semifinals series over the Connecticut Sun three games to one, and the Aces swept the Dallas Wings.


Former Northwestern University football coach Pat Fitzgerald is suing the school for $130 million, saying his alma mater wrongfully fired him in the wake of a hazing and abuse scandal that has engulfed the athletic department. The announcement by Chicago-based attorneys Dan K. Webb and Matthew R. Carter on Thursday comes nearly three months after Fitzgerald was suspended and then fired after 17 years. Webb said that Fitzgerald would also be seeking additional money for “infliction of emotional distress,” future lost income and punitive damages. He said the suit in Cook County Circuit Court is against the university and its President Michael Schill.


Chesson Hadley is battling for a PGA Tour card for the third straight year. At least he has a little more time on his side and a swing change that is coming together. Hadley played a clean round for an 8-under 64 in the Sanderson Farms Championship. That gives him a one shot lead over Brandon Wu and Henrik Norlander. Ludvig Aberg of Sweden was happy enough with a 67. He's still a little tired from making his Ryder Cup debut last week at Marco Simone outside Rome. Aberg missed three short birdie putts on the back nine.


Hyo Joo Kim took the first-round lead Thursday in The Ascendant LPGA, breaking away at Old American with a back-nine birdie run in a 7-under 64. Kim, the 28-year-old South Korean player ranked No. 7 in the world, had a two-stroke lead over Azahara Munoz of Spain, Sofia Garcia of Paraguay and Yu-Sang Hou of Taiwan. Sarah Kemp of Australia and American Marina Alex followed at 67. Kim had eight birdies and a bogey in her afternoon round. After a bogey on the par-3 11th, she birdied Nos. 13-16 and parred the final two. The five-time LPGA Tour winner has eight top-10 finishes this season without a victory.

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A 2022 Siena College graduate, Alexander began his journalism career as a sports writer for Siena College's student paper The Promethean, and as a host for Siena's school radio station, WVCR-FM "The Saint." A Cubs fan, Alexander hosts the morning Sports Report in addition to producing Morning Edition. You can hear the sports reports over-the-air at 6:19 and 7:19 AM, and online on WAMC.org. He also speaks Spanish as a second language. To reach him, email ababbie@wamc.org, or call (518)-465-5233 x 190. You can also find him on Twitter/X: @ABabbieWAMC.