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Chicago Bears to play Houston Texans in NFL's Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 1

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CHICAGO (CBS) – The Chicago Bears will get an early jump on next season as the NFL scheduled the team to play in the Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 1.

The last time the Bears played in the Hall of Fame was in 2018, when longtime Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher was inducted into the hall. The Bears lost to the Baltimore Ravens 17-16 in that contest.

Hall of Fame Football
Former NFL player Brian Urlacher delivers his speech during inductions at the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018, in Canton, Ohio. David Richard / AP

This year's Hall of Fame class includes former Bears Devin Hester, Steve McMichael and Julius Peppers, who will be enshrined two days after the game.

Peppers was a first-ballot Hall of Famer, while Hester was in his third year of eligibility, and McMichael had been waiting nearly 20 years.

McMichael, the defensive tackle nicknamed "Mongo," was a key member of the Bears' vaunted Super Bowl XX champion team and ranks 2nd all-time on the Bears in sacks with 92.5 and 3rd all-time in tackles with 814.

He was a two-time NFL All-Pro and two-time Pro-Bowler in his 15 seasons in the NFL, 12 of them with the Bears.

He has been eligible for the Hall of Fame for nearly two decades, but efforts to get him inducted have taken on greater importance for the Bears in recent years. McMichael has been left paralyzed and unable to speak as he battles ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. He revealed his ALS diagnosis in 2021.


Hester, 41, is considered the best return specialist ever in the NFL, with 20 special teams touchdowns in the regular season, the most in NFL history, including 14 punt return touchdowns, five kick return touchdowns, and one missed field goal returned for a score. He also is the only player in NFL history to return the opening kickoff of a Super Bowl for a touchdown, scoring on the opening kickoff of Super Bowl XLI against the Colts.

Hester recorded 3,695 punt return yards and 7,333 kick return yards in 11 seasons in the NFL, eight of them with the Bears. He added 3,427 yards and 17 touchdowns on offense, mostly as a wide receiver.

Peppers, 44, played most of his career with the Panthers but had 37.5 sacks in his four years with the Bears, including an All-Pro season in 2010 when he had eight sacks in his first year with Chicago.

He ranks fourth all-time in sacks in the NFL, with 159.5. He was the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2002 and was a three-time All-Pro and nine-time Pro Bowler, including three Pro Bowl seasons with the Bears.

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