Michael Johnson Pyle (July 18, 1939 – July 29, 2015) was an American football center who played nine seasons between 1961 and 1969 for the Chicago Bears.
Pyle was born in 1939 to William Palmer Pyle, an executive with Kraft Foods and Cathryn Johnson Pyle in Keokuk, Iowa. He has two brothers: William Palmer Pyle Jr. (who played offensive guard at Michigan State University and with the Baltimore Colts, the Minnesota Vikings and the Oakland Raiders) and Harlen Pyle.
Pyle attended New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois, where he wrestled and threw the discus and shot put in addition to playing football. He was an Illinois state wrestling champion in 1957 in the heavyweight division. He also won a state championship in 1957 for his efforts with the discus and set a state record on his way to winning the shot put title, as well.
He graduated in 1957 from New Trier and went on to Yale University, where he was a member of Skull and Bones. He played center for the Bulldogs and captained the undefeated 1960 team.
Several years after retiring from the NFL, Pyle began to suffer from symptoms of dementia. His condition eventually worsened, and his family was forced to put him into a full-time assisted living facility. Pyle went to Silverado, a national chain that has an arrangement with the NFL to treat all former players with at least three years of service – and dementia – free of charge.
‘‘We have treated about 20 NFL players – we have about a dozen right now,’’ Loren Shook, the president and CEO of Silverado Senior Living, says. ‘‘This is under the ‘88 Plan’ with the NFL.’’
The 88 Plan is a brain trauma program named for Hall of Fame tight end John Mackey, whose number was 88. Mackey was in a near vegetative state from CTE by the time he died in 2011. Pyle died on July 29, 2015.