Bronislau "Bronko" Nagurski is considered one of the top football players of all-time.

In 1929, playing for the University of Minnesota, he became the only college football player to be named an All-America at two positions — fullback and defensive tackle — after leading the nation in rushing (737 yards) and anchoring the defense for the Gophers, who finished with a 6-2 record.

Following his college career, he played with the NFL's Chicago Bears from 1930-37 and 1943.

In 1943, Nagurski came out of retirement at the age of 35 to lead the Bears to the NFL championship.

Nagurski, who was born in Rainy River, Ontario, before growing up in International Falls, Minn., was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in its inaugural year of 1951 and he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in its inaugural year in 1963.

"He was the greatest player of a great period," George McKinnon, a Gophers teammate, told the Star Tribune in 1990. "He stood above everyone else."

According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Nagurski was "a bulldozing runner on offense, a bone-crushing linebacker on defense."

Don Smith, a spokesman for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, told the Star Tribune in 1990, "Not many from the '20s or '30s are still household words, but he still is."

Nagurski began his professional wrestling career in 1933 while he was still playing for the Chicago Bears. In June of 1937, he became the world heavyweight champion when he defeated Dean Detton before a crowd of 8,000 at the Minneapolis Auditorium. In 1939, he won his first National Wrestling Association (NWA) world title. After losing the title in 1940, he regained it in March of 1941.

He continued to wrestle professional until 1960. During that time he was a tag-team partner of Verne Gagne.


Class: 1958.

Sports: Football, wrestling.

Team: Gophers, Chicago Bears.