Jeff Dickerson, ESPN's Chicago Bears reporter, dies at age 44

5:59 PM

Jeff Dickerson, a fixture at the Chicago sports market for two decades, died Tuesday of colon cancer. He was 44 years old.

Dickerson died at the same facility where his wife died two years ago. Dickerson had fought melanoma for eight years. Jeff Dickerson is survived by his family.

Heather Burns said thatJD was one of the most positive people she had ever met. He was assuring us that he was going to beat cancer after we all got together for an event. That's who he was. We are praying for Jeff's family and especially his son.

Dickerson said that he considered Caitlin an "inspiration" because she refused to let cancer dictate her life. He used that determination after receiving his own cancer diagnosis to plow ahead with a full schedule that included parenting, raising money for cancer research and covering the Chicago Bears. He joined the board of the foundation to honor the memory of the former Bears beat writer and Falcons reporter who died in 2020.

The winners of the scholarship are Rick and Elizabeth. You have beenCONGRATULATIONS!
Jeff Dickerson is on the air on May 13, 2021.

Dickerson was the charity's emcee at the inaugural gala. Few at the event knew that his disease was getting worse.

Tom Waddle, a former Bears receiver and close friend of Dickerson, said that if you need something to describe him, it's all you can do. He loved his colleague so much that he was there for him. He's at the event despite struggling with something.

Dickerson joked with dark humor that he had too much experience with cancer to not believe he would beat it. In addition to treatment and his work responsibilities, he spent the past year traveling with him to basketball and baseball tournaments and attending his fall football games.

My son's football season ended today. Lots of areas to improve for next season despite a great year. Youth tackle football is alive and well in Illinois.
Jeff Dickerson is on the air.

He told his colleagues that he was there to amuse his doctors. He disarmed those who expressed concern by asking them about their own lives, and no one around him heard a word of self-pity.

Waddle said thatJD always wants to know how you're doing. I would ask him how he's doing and he would reply, 'How are you doing?' How are my daughters? The dignity with which he has carried himself through some of the most difficult times any human being would be asked to go through, what his wife went through and the strength and grace that he showed at her side throughout all of this... Jeff Dickerson has handled adversity with more grace and strength and dignity than any other person I've met in my 54 years of life. A lot of people go through stuff. I do. I'm sympathetic to all of it. What Jeff Dickerson has had to go through is cruel.

I never heard him pity himself, whether it was what he was going through or what he had to go through. Ever. I have never heard him say that this has gotten the best of me. It's amazing to see what strength some people have. I never heard a word of betrayal, and it never felt like he had been cheated.

Dickerson was known for his friendly demeanor, clear voice and straight talk, but he was not afraid to tell his readers what he thought about the Bears. He never made a show of confronting team management.

Dickerson asked McCaskey if the reduced revenues during the COVID-19 epidemic had influenced his decision to retain general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy. McCaskey said that finances did not affect the verdict.

McCaskey says the league wide loss of revenue due to COVID-19 played no role in the decision to retain Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy.

Jeff Dickerson was known for his straight talk and friendly demeanor while covering the Bears for two decades.

San Francisco 49ers placekicker Robbie Gould, who spent 11 seasons with the Bears from 2005-15, remembered Dickerson as a straight shooter who earned the respect of players who appreciated his commitment to accuracy.

Gould, who co-hosted anESPN 1000 radio show with Dickerson during his Bears career, said that Dickerson always carried a care for the subject that he was going to write about. As a player, you can appreciate that the wisdom he put on paper was as neutral and correct as it ever was. It was going to be what you said. The story was always going to be what it was. It was never going to be someone filling in the blanks.

Players definitely noticed. He wrote a true story. He wrote about what was happening. He did not try to back the bus up. He tried to understand how the story was told. A lot of guys gave him a lot of credit because they knew he would write it right.

Gould said he continued to listen to Dickerson's radio appearances after he left the Bears to join the 49ers.

Gould said that he looked up to him because he was a mentor to him and he wanted to get into the media when football was over.

Dickerson attended the University of Illinois-Champaign after graduating from Buffalo Grove High School. He began covering the Bears for the radio station in 2001, added digital coverage in 2009, and transitioned to the website in the year 2013. He worked as a sports reporter for ABC Channel 7 in Chicago and as a television analyst for Loyola men's basketball.

Over the years he helped many of his colleagues navigate the medium, and radio was his first love. Dickerson was approached by a reporter from the Minnesota Vikings for advice about hosting shows.

"JD swung that door open for me instead of helping me get my foot in the door," he said. "Not only did he connect me with the people I have grown to consider a part of my family, but he also held my hand and taught me how to walk, so to speak, as I added radio sportscaster to my list of job responsibilities."

On Memorial Day weekend in May, Cronin co-hosted with Dickerson on the radio. She is a host on the schedule of the sports network.

"Jeff Dickerson did not owe me anything, nor did he have to help me get an opportunity that changed the trajectory of my career," he said. He taught me how to be a great teammate and helped me get to where I am today. I am eternally grateful for the time I had with my friend and teammate, and will carry them with me for the rest of my days.

Dickerson's personal relationships with his colleagues extended to his overnight trips. Dickerson spent the night as an honored guest of Rob Demovsky and his family instead of staying in a hotel during his annual excursion to Green Bay.

"That's how good of a friend he was," Demovsky said. He was the only sports reporter who would give up Marriott points to stay with a friend. When the Bears came to Green Bay, we looked forward to the game more than any other game we've watched.

He bought the first bottle of wine he liked, a Pinot Noir, at dinner on his last trip up here. I told him I would give him a bottle of it when he came to town because I wanted to share it with him. He told me a few weeks ago that he wouldn't be able to make the trip this year because of his health, but he told me that he would be back next year to redeem his points for another night's stay.

He was afraid that it would never happen. He was comforting me when I should have been comforting him. We should hope that we can be friends with other people.