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Bob Avellini, former Bears quarterback, dead at 70

CHICAGO — Former Chicago quarterback Bob Avellini, who teamed with Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton to lead the Bears to the 1977 playoffs, died Saturday. He was 70 years old.

The Bears announced that Avellini passed away after a battle with cancer.

Avellini and Payton had the best seasons of their careers in 1977, as Chicago and the Minnesota Vikings won the NFC North with 9 wins and 5 losses, respectively. Minnesota won the division and Chicago earned a wild-card playoff spot.

Former Chicago Bears quarterback Bob Avellini has died at the age of 70. Getty Images

Bob Avellini of the Bears in 1979.
Bob Avellini of the Bears in 1979. Getty Images North America

In the playoffs that season, the Bears lost to Dallas 37-7. Avellini threw 11 touchdown passes and gained a career-high 2,004 yards with 18 interceptions. Payton, meanwhile, rushed for over 1,800 yards and 14 TDs.

Avellini threw for 7,111 yards, 33 touchdowns, and 69 interceptions in 73 games over nine seasons from 1975 to 1984.

Avellini, a New York native, was in the same draft class as Payton, who was selected by Chicago in the sixth round out of Maryland in 1975. Payton was the fourth overall pick.