Chicago Bears Receivers Prior To Brandon Marshall Were Sad AF

Every Bears fan knows the team needed a No. 1 WR for essentially the life of the franchise. Chicago Bears receivers have historically been terrible.

Even to this day, Walter Payton has the 4th most receiving yards in franchise history.

But what everyone may not know is just how long and how bad the Chicago Bears receivers were prior to Brandon Marshall.

A brief glance at the Bears’ receiving leaders, and their statistics, from 1987 to 2012 may as well have been from 1888 to 1912 – truly pathetic.

In that 25 year span, you could also argue the QBs were terrible as well.

Talk about a list of also rans (Kordell Stewart), never wases (Steve Walsh), and straight up suck bags (Cade McNown). Since Sid Luckman, the best QBs in franchise history were Erik Kramer, Jim McMahon, and Jim Miller (lol).

Love him or hate him, Jay Cutler is the best QB in Bears’ franchise history.

As Muhsin Muhammad famously stated, Chicago is “where receivers go to die.”

Take a look at this list of Chicago Bears receivers prior to Marshall. It is sad, how did they win anything!?

1987: Willie Gault

Stats: 35 Rec, 705 yards, seven TDs

One of the fastest players in NFL history, and still one of the fastest humans on the planet.

Never had a 1,000-yard season.

1988: Dennis McKinnon

Stats: 45 Rec, 704 yards, three TDs

Basically the prototypical Bears WR: not great at any one thing, not particularly fast; just good enough.

Never had 1,000-yard season.

1989: Ron Morris

Stats: 31 Rec, 486 yards, one TD

486 yards receiving in a season is OK…for a running back.

Never had 1,000-yard season.

1990-1992: Wendell Davis

1990 stats: 39 Rec, 572, three TDs

1991 stats: 61 Rec, 945 yards, six TDs

1992 stats: 54 Rec, 734 yards, two TDs

Davis was the most consistent WR the Bears had since Willie Gault. Unfortunately, he was known as much for his gruesome double knee injury in the Astrodome as his receiving exploits.

Never had 1,000-yard season.

1993: Tom Waddle

Stats: 44 Rec, 552 yards, one TD

Some of the youngsters may not know that Waddle, a frequent NFL Network contributor, was one of the Bears’ most consistent receivers for a three-year period.

Never had a 1,000-yard season.

1994, 1995: Jeff Graham

1994 Stats: 68 Rec, 944 yards, four TDs

1995 Stats: 82 Rec, 1,301 yards, four TDs

The sneaky-fast Graham was a technician at WR, making the most of his lack of speed to outwit defenders. He was a major contributor for the Bears’ 1994 playoff team and to Erik Kramer’s 1995 season, which is still the most productive season for a QB in franchise history (3,838 yards, 29 TD).

His lone 1,000-yard season in 1995 was the first since Dick Gordon in 1970.

1996: Curtis Conway

Stats: 81 Rec, 1,049 yards, seven TDs

Conway was the most exciting Bears WR since Willie Gault. His back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in ’95 and ’96 made him the first Bears player to accomplish the feat.

These days, he’s married to boxer Laila Ali.

Conway had two 1,000-yard seasons.

1997: Ricky Proehl

Stats: 58 Rec, 753 yards, seven TDs

Back to reality. Proehl’s ’97 season was a successful one, considering the Bears didn’t plan to rely on him that much entering the season and that he only started 10 games.

Never had 1,000-yard season.

1998: Bobby Engram

Stats: 64 Rec, 987 yards, five TDs

The Bears drafted and developed Engram into a prototypical possession WR.

Never had 1,000-yard season.

1999, 2000: Marcus Robinson

1999 Stats: 84 Rec, 1,400 yards, nine TDs

2000 Stats: 55 Rec, 738 yards, five TDs

Robinson’s ’99 season came out of nowhere, setting a team record in single-season receiving yards, but was never duplicated again in his career. It took him the next four seasons to accumulate 1,400-plus receiving yards total.

An injury during the 2000 season limited him to 11 games and unfortunately, limited the rest of his career.

Robinson had one 1,000-yard season.

2001-2003: Marty Booker

2001 Stats: 100 Rec, 1,071 yards, eight TDs

2002 Stats: 97 Rec, 1,189 yards, six TDs

2003 Stats: 52 Rec, 715 yards, four TDs

In 1999, Booker became the first Bears WR to post a 100-plus-yard receiving game since Willie Gault in 1983—18 years. His 100 catches in ’01 is a franchise record and he made the Pro Bowl in 2002.

Booker had two 1,000-yard seasons.

2004: David Terrell

Stats: 42 Rec, 699 yards, one TD

Man, did Terrell have some serious potential. He could never live up to it. He was out of Chicago the following year and never played in the NFL again.

Never had 1,000-yard season.

2005, 2006: Muhsin Muhammad

2005 Stats: 64 Rec, 750 yards, four TDs

2006 Stats: 60 Rec, 863 yards, five TDs

After a monster 2004 season and a Super Bowl appearance in 2003, the Bears gave Muhammad a six-year contract worth $30 million, with $12 million guaranteed.

Personally, I think this contract is exactly why the Bears have shied away from the free-agent market ever since, with the exception being two years under Jerry Angelo.

Never had 1,000-yard season.

2007: Bernard Berrian

Stats: 71 Rec, 951 yards, five TDs

Berrian developed in to a solid WR in Chicago, primarily as a deep threat, thanks to his speed. Angelo’s decision to not re-sign him in 2008 was one moves he deserved credit for as GM.

Never had 1,000-yard season.

2008, 2009: Devin Hester

2008 Stats: 51 Rec, 665 yards, three TDs

2009 Stats: 57 Rec, 757 yards, three TDs

Remember that one time the Bears FORCED D Hess to play WR? He told me about it at the Super Bowl here:

Devin Hester – The Bears MADE Me Play Wide Receiver

Never had 1,000-yard season.

2010, 2011: Johnny Knox

2010 Stats: 51 Rec, 960 yards, five TDs

2011 Stats: 37 Rec, 727 yards, two TD

After the neck injury he suffered last season, I wouldn’t blame him if he retired. Brutal.

Never had 1,000-yard season.

In 25 years, the average stat line for the Chicago Bears receivers No. 1 was: 59 Rec, 848 yards, four TDs.

In 3 years leading Chicago Bears receivers, Brandon Marshall averaged 93 Rec, 1,175 yards, 10 TUDs.

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I’ve been a freelance journalist since 2000 and have had my work published via AskMen, Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report, Busted Coverage, and Autotrader. I’ve done stand-up comedy. I'm a dad, youth soccer coach, and team statistician for the oldest indoor football team in the world, the Omaha Beef. I own a design agency in Omaha, NE called little guy design. I’ve married six couples in 10 years and my Marriage to Still Married ratio is 6:6. I always say, it isn’t so much about the “love,” as it is the tasteless jokes that became vows. I started the I-80 Sports Blog to have all the work I've published located in one place and to write about things I want to write about. I don't take anything too seriously and it is a real time saver.