Johnny Morris
refer to caption
Morris on a 1961 trading card
No. 47
Position:Wide receiver,
Halfback
Personal information
Born: (1935-09-26) September 26, 1935 (age 86)
Long Beach, California
Career information
High school:Long Beach Polytechnic
College:UC Santa Barbara
NFL Draft:1958 / Round: 12 / Pick: 137
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing yards:1,040
Yards per carry:4.6
Rushing touchdowns:5
Receptions:356
Receiving yards:5,059
Receiving touchdowns:31
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

Johnny Edward Morris (born September 26, 1935) is a former American football halfback and wide receiver in the National Football League. He spent his entire ten-year career with the Chicago Bears, and is the franchise's all-time leader in receiving yards with 5,059.[1] He attended the University of California, Santa Barbara. Morris won an NFL championship in 1963. In 1964, he had his best season with 93 receptions for 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns.

In 1964, while still playing for the Bears, Morris joined WBBM-TV in Chicago as a sportscaster. Except for a six-year stint at rival WMAQ-TV, Morris remained at WBBM until 1992, serving for most of that time as sports director. He became good friends with film critic Gene Siskel when Siskel was hired by the station in the 1970s. During his time at WBBM-TV, he popularised the use of the telestrator (a device for drawing over still or moving video images) in sports television, which was invented by fellow WBBM-TV employee Leonard Reiffel for his science-related TV series Dimensions on Tomorrow's Living and The World Tomorrow. He also served as a football color commentator for CBS' NFL coverage from 1975 to 1986. He retired in 1996.

His father was from Achladokampos, Greece (family name Μονοπορης, or Monoporis), while his mother was Swedish. While playing for the Bears, Morris was known as "Little Greek" and teammate Bill George was "Big Greek".[2]

Morris was married to sports reporter Jeannie Morris, whom he met at UC Santa Barbara, from 1960 to 1985. The two remained close after their divorce as television colleagues. Jeannie died December 14, 2020.[3]

References

  1. ^ "Chicago Bears Franchise Encyclopedia". Pro-Football-Reference.com.
  2. ^ O'Donnell, Jim (June 6, 2019). "O'Donnell: Bears wide receiver Johnny Morris is winner with a heart of a lion". Daily Herald. Retrieved December 15, 2020.
  3. ^ Mayer, Larry (December 14, 2020). "Jeannie Morris passes away Monday at age 85". Chicago Bears. Retrieved December 15, 2020.