Gale Sayers, former Bears RB and Pro Football Hall of Famer is battling dementia

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Pro Football Hall of Fame member, former Chicago Bears running back Gale Sayers, right, looks over his notes as he prepares to testify on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2007, before the Senate Commerce hearing on the National Football League Retirement System. Fellow Hall of Fame member, former Chicago Bears head coach Mike Ditka is at left.. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) — Susan Walsh

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Relatives of Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers say the Bears legend has been diagnosed with dementia.

His wife, Ardythe Sayers, tells The Kansas City Star that her 73-year-old husband was diagnosed four years ago and she blames Sayers' football career. He played for the Bears from 1965-71 after setting records at the University of Kansas.

Ardie Sayers and the rest of the family had made no secret of his condition, but hadn't shared it publicly. She recently determined that it's important that his situation be known and understood to dispel false impressions.

His brother, Roger Sayers, says it's "tough" to "build memories all your life, and the next thing you know you don't remember anything."