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Former Bears quarterback Bob Avellini dead at 70

Former Chicago Bears quarterback Bob Avellini, who spent all nine NFL seasons in the Windy City, died Saturday. He was 70 years old.

The Bears announced that Avellini lost his battle with cancer.

“Bob was a unique, fierce and tough competitor,” the Bears said in a statement. “He will probably be best remembered for leading the Bears on an improbable run to their first postseason appearance in 14 years in 1977. He will be sorely missed.”

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Bob Avellini of the Chicago Bears drops for a pass during a game against the New Orleans Saints on October 2, 1977 at Soldier Field in Chicago. Avellini played for the Bears from 1975 to 1984. (Focus on Sports/Getty Images)

In 1977, Avellini and Hall of Fame star Bears running back Walter Payton both had the best seasons of their careers.

Payton was certainly the centerpiece of Chicago’s offense, rushing for a league-high 1,852 yards and scoring 14 touchdowns.

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However, Avellini completed 154 passes for a career-high 2,004 yards and 11 touchdowns in 14 games.

Bob Avellini runs

Bears quarterback Bob Avellini is pictured during a game at Chicago’s Soldier Field, circa 1977. (Focus on Sports/Getty Images)

As per the team’s statement, the Bears did not make the playoffs for 14 years before finally breaking the drought in 1977. However, the Bears lost 37-7 to the Dallas Cowboys, with Avellini recording four interceptions and one touchdown on 25 attempts.

Avellini was 23-27 in 73 regular season games from 1975 to 1984, throwing for 7,111 yards and 33 touchdowns.

Bob Avellini looks at the camera

A circa 1979 photo of Chicago Bears quarterback Bob Avellini. (Bruce Bennett Studio, via Getty Images Studios)

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The Queens, New York, native was in the same draft class as Payton, and the Bears selected Avellini 135th overall out of Maryland in the sixth round of the 1975 NFL Draft.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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