The Bears Unveil George Halas and Walter Payton Statues | Photo

George Halas and Walter Payton Statues Soldier FieldTuesday afternoon, two days before the NFL kicks off its 100th season, the Chicago Bears unveiled statues of George Halas and Walter Payton, outside of Gate 0 at venerable Soldier Field.

The dual 12-foot high pieces of art will be visible to all when the Bears host the Green Bay Packers, Thursday night on NBC.

In addition to founding the Bears, Halas served as the team’s longtime owner and head coach. Prior to passing away in 1983 (at the age of 96), “Papa Bear” was present for a whopping eight NFL championships. Virginia Halas McCaskey, Halas’ 96-year-old daughter, still serves as the Bears lead owner.

The immortal Payton (also known as Sweetness) played 13 hall of fame seasons, rushing for 16,726 yards, amid scoring a total of 125 rushing and receiving TD’s. Payton’s nearly 17,000 rush yards place him second all-time, only behind Emmitt Smith.

The Mississippi native’s résumé also features nine Pro Bowl appearances, seven All-NFL First Team selections and one Super Bowl championship.

Sadly, Payton passed away at only 45-years-old, after contracting a rare liver disease in 1999.