Bear for all seasons

Dick Butkus then and now. (Tribune Photos)

Given a second chance in life, Butkus campaigns for former players, retired military, policemen and firemen to take advantage of complimentary heart screenings there. And he crusades passionately against steroid use.

"That's my payback," he said.

On Wednesday, he testified at a U.S. Senate hearing on human growth hormone and the NFL.

From destroyer to guardian, life has come full circle for Butkus at 70.

Some things never change, though.

Because of his arthritis, Butkus takes medication that makes him susceptible to infection. When he expressed concern about having to shake so many hands, he was advised to fist bump instead.

He tried it. Then one day a fan extended his hand as if to shake and didn't see the bump coming.

Broke the guy's finger.

That was Butkus then. This is Butkus now.

dpompei@tribune.com

Twitter @danpompei