Jerry Azumah is a former cornerback/kick returner for the Chicago Bears. One of the most memorable moments of his career was in 2002 when he scored the last touchdown on the old Soldier Field before it was completely renovated. He retired in 2006 and is now an entrepreneur and philanthropist who also provides Bears commentary and postgame coverage on various networks and radio programs.
You received some great personal honors as a Bear, including a Pro Bowl selection. Do you think there are players in the NFL who want individual awards more than a Super Bowl championship?
Jerry Azumah: I kind of hate to speak for everyone, but the reason we play this game is to become a champion. Everyone watches the Super Bowl. It’s what every kid dreams about. I’m sure there are guys who want individual honors, but there’s nothing like a Super Bowl ring.
How do you think the rest of the league, or the country, perceives the Bears as an organization?
JA: That’s a good question. I think that for some odd reason—and I felt this as a player—we don’t get the recognition we deserve. The defense always gets recognition, but as a whole the Bears don’t get that recognition. It’s just one of those mysterious things.
What do you think of the guy who took your number after you left? [Devin Hester, No. 23]
JA: [Laughs] The greatest that’s ever done it. He’s the GOAT [Greatest of All Time]. He is literally running into the Hall of Fame right now.
What’s it like watching the NFL now?
JA: I remember my playing days, and I’m trying to look at certain formations to see if they run the things they did when I was playing, and they do. It’s a game of chess and you just have to figure out your opponent’s next move.
Can Chicago support a second NFL team? There are certainly enough people here, but would they?
JA: I think it would be tough just because of the history and the legacy of the Chicago Bears. The Chicago Bears were around [at] the start of the NFL. I think bringing in a second team would be difficult just based on that alone. I don’t think it would go over too well.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
JA: I’m a big-time snowboarder. Big-time. I like to hit the slopes.
Do you ever dream about football?
JA: Yeah, sometimes. Football has been a part of my life since I was able to walk, and it’s not going anywhere. So the dreams are still alive, definitely.