The Chicago Tribune is running a series of the best 100 is Doug Atkins....kind of a wild guy....

The tales about Atkins, who played for the Bears from 1955 to 1966, have taken a life of their own through the years. It is hard to tell the facts from the embellishments and exaggerations as his improbable actions seem to have become more outlandish with each telling.

A few of the most repeated:

— Safety Richie Petitbon was one of the teammates Atkins invited to the parties he held in his dorm room. The coaches would not conduct bed checks on Atkins because of the pit bull named Rebel he brought to camp and, according to Petitbon, trained to kill.

“He’d get himself three or four guys in there and you’d drink until he let you go,” Petitbon told Pierson on July 28, 1978. The other players would become captives in the room of Atkins, who often did not have to practice in the morning because of injury, and sometimes he would keep his teammates there until 3 a.m. If a player tried to leave Atkins’ room before he declared the party over, Rebel would stand at attention and start growling. Petitbon thought he could escape by saying he had to go to the restroom. Atkins instructed him to use the dorm-room window.

“So I go out the window, sit down, and listen to some more hillbilly music,” Petitbon said.

— One night O’Bradovich went into Atkins’ dorm room and found him playing darts. O’Bradovich grabbed a dart from Atkins’ hand, but before he could toss it, Atkins tossed him. He lifted his 6-foot-3, 255-pound teammate over his head and “threw him down on the floor like a sack of potatoes,” John Mullin wrote in his 2003 book, “Tales from the Chicago Bears Sidelines.”

“That was it for the darts,” O’Bradovich told Mullin. “I learned damn quick right there. Don’t interrupt the Big Fella when he’s playing darts.”

— Atkins once ran into an Eagles player at a bar after an exhibition game. An argument ensued, and Atkins supposedly picked up the player and pressed him against the ceiling with one hand while drinking his beer with the other.

— Upon learning that beer is fattening, Atkins switched to martinis. An unnamed New Orleans sports writer told Mike Downey of the Los Angeles Times on Jan. 24, 1986, that he once witnessed Atkins consume a meal of 45 pieces of fried chicken and two pitchers of martinis.