Bears fans flock to Naperville bookstore to see Hall of Famer Richard Dent
By Hank Beckman For The Sun December 8, 2012 8:10PM
Former Chicago Bear Richard Dent thanks a fan for coming out to Anderson's Bookshop for a signing of his new book "Blood, Sweat and Bears" on Saturday, December 8, 2012. | Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 10, 2013 6:43AM
Looking like he could still put a move on an offensive lineman and make a quarterback’s life miserable, Hall of Fame defensive end Richard Dent signed copies of his new book “Blood, Sweat and Bears: Putting a ‘Dent’ in the Game I Love” Saturday at Anderson’s Bookshop, 123 W. Jefferson Ave. in Naperville.
Dent, who played on the Chicago Bears team that won Super Bowl XX, took the time before the event to thank the fans lined up all around the store to see him.
“This was a book that was in the making for a couple of years,” Dent told the crowd. “It’s about the trials and benchmarks you have to jump over as you go through life.”
Dent’s career is testimony to being underestimated and overcoming obstacles on the way to being inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame in 2011.
Drafted in the eighth round out of Tennessee State University in 1983, Dent was virtually unknown compared to top picks in that year’s draft, including quarterbacks John Elway, Dan Marino and Jim Kelly.
In a profession dominated by college football’s elite — and the big money that goes to high draft choices — Dent had to beat long odds to become the dominant player he was for years with the Chicago Bears.
During the Bears Super Bowl run in 1985, Dent led the league in quarterback sacks with 17 and recovered two fumbles while intercepting two passes. He capped off the year by becoming the MVP of Super Bowl XX, an honor earned by getting two sacks, forcing two fumbles and blocking a pass.
Dent stressed to the fans at Anderson’s the importance of believing in yourself.
“Many people will doubt you,” he said, stressing that by honoring the importance of faith, family and hard work, “things will come your way.”
Of the 103 fans that were in line to get copies of their book signed, none was more excited than 10-year-old Jack Crabtree. The Lisle fifth-grader had the honor of being first in line.
“I went crazy,” Crabtree said of his reaction to finding out Dent was coming to Naperville.
“We have a DVD of the Bears Super Bowl season and he’s watched it probably 100 times,” Susan Crabtree, Jack’s mother, said.
Jack Crabtree didn’t come to the signing empty-handed. He’d read that fishing was a passion of Dent’s, so he presented him with a fishing lure as a gift for his coming Dec. 13 birthday.
“We were talking about fishing,” he said of his brief time with Dent.
Janice Biernat, a Naperville resident since 1946, brought two copies of Dent’s book to have signed, one for her husband, and one for his friend, who “turned his garage into a Bears shrine.”
Will Milroy turns 60 this year and the Pekin native is an avid Bears and NFL fan.
“I want to congratulate him on being inducted into the Hall of Fame,” Milroy said, noting that a Hawaii trip to the Pro Bowl was his family’s regular vacation. “I’ve seen every one of his Pro Bowls.”