Time to Settle Accounts
September 15, 2012: Heritage.
It was a few days before opening day, and I was in the locker room at Halas Hall getting a jump on Bears-Packers material for the next week. I’d discussed the rivalry with D.J. Moore and Jeremy Jones, and now – after hearing about how Peanut Tillman learned Bears history as a rookie – I was curious to see what Jones, an undrafted rookie safety from Wayne State, knew about his uniform number, 46.
“Side question,” I said to Jones as Moore returned to his locker. “Do you know about the history of number 46 with the Bears?”
“No,” he said. Jones is a soft-spoken man with a friendly smile and sincere warmth. “Should I look it up?”
I nodded. “Do you know about the 46 Defense?”
“Oh yeah,” he said, perking up, “the original Bears defense. Yeah.”
“Do you know where that came from?” He shook his head. “It came from a safety named Doug Plank who wore number 46 and was a straight bruiser.”
“Oh okay,” he said. “I’m gonna have to look it up.”
I caught up with Jones a day after the Bears defeated the Colts. “Did you get a chance to research Plank?” I asked him. This was sort of a joke – I wasn’t expecting a ‘yes’ – but who knows?
“No, I didn’t,” he said. “But someone asked me about it at the barbershop!”
He nodded. “So I’m sitting at the barbershop, and they ask me, ‘What number do you wear?’ I tell them, ‘46.’ And they’re like, ‘Oh! Whoa, whoa, do you know who wore number 46?’ And from the last time we talked, I was like ‘Yep. Doug Plank! The hard-hitting safety. Came downhill. Everybody knew where he was on the field because he’d come and take your head off.’ So now I know a little bit about him.”
He laughed again. “They were like, ‘Oh yeah! Okay! We see you know a little bit of history.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, yeah.’” He leaned back in his locker stall and smiled. “It felt good to know a little bit.”
NEXT: Home field. (10.23.12)
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BEARS STORIES REFERENCED ABOVE
7 SEP 2012 — Bearing Down with… Peanut Tillman
10 SEP 2012 — Week 1 column: The Bears have the air of dominance
11 SEP 2012 — Bearing Down with… D.J. Moore & Jeremy Jones