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Give these Bears numbers a rest

July 29, 2013|By Jack M Silverstein, For RedEye

In April, the Bears assigned new linebacker James Anderson No. 50, aka Mike Singletary's number. A month later, they formally announced that Mike Ditka's No. 89 would be the team's final retired number.

This leaves several worthy candidates, including Singletary, without the distinction. RedEye looks at the top five Bears jerseys that should still be retired.

1. Mike Singletary, No. 50, 1981-92

Here's how much Singletary owns No. 50: In college, I attended a party at the home of one of my brother's friends. In the basement was a framed Bears No. 50 jersey with the name "Nuber" on the back. I threw a fit, exclaiming no true Bears fan would personalize the jersey of a Hall of Famer. Then I learned I was at the home of Dr. Gordon Nuber, the Bears team physician. The team gave him the jersey for his 50th birthday. Damn cool, and a lovely tribute, but ya know what? I still don't like it. Don't mess with Samurai.

2. Brian Urlacher, No. 54, 2000-12

When you own a number, you erase the validity of every other player who ever wore the number. That is certainly the case for Brian Urlacher and No. 54. The Bears actually had a steady No. 54 linebacker in the '90s named Ron Cox. Played OK. Google a picture of Ron Cox in his Bears jersey. Looks wrong, doesn't it?

3. Devin Hester, No. 23, 2006-present

I loved Jerry Azumah and respected Shaun Gayle. But close your eyes and picture a Bears No. 23. Now look at the face. What do you see? I see the (should be) future Hall of Famer Devin Hester galloping toward the end zone in the Miami rain with a trail of Indianapolis Colts behind him. Nothing can replace that.

4. Richard Dent, No. 95, 1983-1993, 1995

It's between Dent and Hampton for this spot, and I'm taking Dent. He was the best defensive lineman on the best Bears team of all-time, he won the Super Bowl MVP, he is far and away the franchise's sack leader, and he had one of the best verses in the "Super Bowl Shuffle." If you don't think Dent's No. 95 should be retired, you're probably just jealous of his style and class.

5. No. 8 for quarterbacks (Cade McNown, 1999-2000, Rex Grossman, 2003-08)

This is not an honor — it's a safety precaution. No more Bears quarterbacks wearing No. 8, OK? If we ever see Adam Podlesh lining up behind center, start panicking.

Special contributor Jack M Silverstein covers the Bears for RedEye. @readjack.

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