Bengals bits: A look back at bad ’backer Bill Bergey

As fan voting has wrapped up to choose the 50 greatest Cincinnati Bengals ahead of the team's 50th season, the aura surrounding strong candidate and former middle linebacker Bill Bergey is fascinating, and so is this story on

Although he played but five seasons in the Queen City, Bergey definitely established himself as one of the fiercest players to ever wear the Bengals’ uniform. He routinely flattened ballcarriers, and pursued sideline to sideline as if hunting his last meal on play after play.

Bergey, 72, is better known for the seven years he played for the Eagles, but if you don’t know the story of how he ended up in Philadelphia, you’ll enjoy reading this all the more.

Selected by Cincinnati in the second round of the 1969 AFL draft, the All-American from Arkansas State was a starter from day one for the Bengals. In 1974, though, he signed a “futures contract” with a WFL team that would have gone into effect after his contract in Cincinnati was up. The team traded him for two first-round draft choices and a second-rounder.

“I really enjoyed my five years in Cincinnati. I played (seven) years with the Eagles and I really remember more about my Bengals days,” Bergey told writer Geoff Hobson on Monday. “I had just got married. I had my first kid. Had my first paycheck .. The team was close. We were young and hungry.

Bergey made five Pro Bowls in 12 seasons, twice being tabbed first team All-Pro, and registered 27 interceptions while recovering 21 fumbles.

Nominated earlier this year for the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Bergey lives outside of Philadelphia and is a member of the Eagles' pre- and post-game radio and television crews. Bleacher Report considers him to be one of the top five middle linebackers not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame

behind Randy Gradishar (Ohio State/Broncos), Tommy Nobis (Falcons), Lee Roy Jordan (Cowboys) and Sam Mills (Saints/Panthers).

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