Willhite and brothers Darrell, George, Randall and Gerald and sister Terri used sports to keep active growing up in Rancho Cordova. “It was a big event, a $2,000-a-plate dinner. He tore his hamstring during a track meet his senior season at Cordova, then hurt it again his first season at Oregon in 1982. Street clothes and all, Willhite never broke stride. He is an actor and writer, known for Brian's Song (1971), Brian's Song (2001) and Guiding Light (1952). Gale Sayers was born on May 30, 1943 in Wichita, Kansas, USA as Gale Eugene Sayers. The couple divorced in 1973, … He caught John Elway’s first game-winning touchdown in the NFL, played in a Super Bowl and logged seven rough-and-tumble seasons. It’ll always be special to us.”, ©2020 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.), Visit The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.) at www.sacbee.com. Connect with friends faster than ever with the new Facebook app. Willhite’s body and mind are sound. They’re only for show!”, Gerald Willhite starred in NFL and paid for it. He married his college sweetheart, Karen, and they raised three kids in Elk Grove (Kaelin is in the Navy, stationed in Hawaii; Kamryn is an exchange college student in Germany; and Kellen is a recent San Francisco State graduate). Like us on Facebook to see similar stories, Officials spar over Breonna Taylor case: 'Let people see' evidence, FDA Under Fire For Not Regulating Thousands of Chemicals in Your Food. Five knee surgeries, broken fingers, broken toes, broken legs, concussions. He was even better in person. I was thrilled.”. It’ll always be special to us.” ©2020 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.) Randall went on to play at Oregon, as a teammate of Kevin. His body was so beat up and tore up. Bears coach George Halas said of his star during that Hall induction, “If you want to see perfection as a running back, you best get ahold of film of Gale Sayers. He has been married to Ardythe Bullard since December 1, 1973. This is punctuated by Willhite being named by multiple publications or organizations as the national player of the year in 1981 for his ability to sprint or blast through defenders for the nationally renown Cordova Lancers. I know so many guys and friends who are brain-damaged from football.”, Willhite paused and added, “I talk to Gerald a lot. Willhite often speaks of good genes and good fortune, and of bad luck and what might have been. He feels good at 57. “Amazing,” Willhite said, looking back on the moment. Gale Sayers, the Chicago Bears Hall of Fame running back known as the “Kansas Comet,” has died at the age of 77 after battling dementia. The recruiters knew about the genes and were awed by his game film. Sayers had dementia, tied his football days. “I’m Alfred Kevin Willhite. But he stuck it out in Eugene, pained by any suggestion of being a bust. This discussion includes his cousin, Gale Sayers, the electrifying Chicago Bears halfback great who died this week at 77. He was first married to Linda McNeil, the mother of his children, in 1963. Show full articles without "Continue Reading" button for {0} hours. “I tell people these muscles are not for running or track any more. “Right now, I’m driving with Ducks shorts on, Oregon socks and a Oregon shirt,” Willhite said. In a Bee story in 2000, I ranked Willhite as the second-best prep football player in area history, based on high school feats, behind lineman Tedy Bruschi of Roseville and ahead of running back Onterrio Smith of Grant. Gerald became the most accomplished of the lot football wise after high school, leading to his induction into the Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame in January. There is no word on a … A Washington recruiter rented a hotel room for months in Rancho Cordova to keep on top of Willhite, well before social media, cell phones and the internet. Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.