BERKELEY -- Ted Albrecht was an All-America offensive tackle as a senior at Cal in 1976, but he won't be wearing blue and gold Saturday when he arrives at Memorial Stadium for the season opener against No. 22 Northwestern.
"It's really kind of strange, but I tell people my paycheck comes with purple ink on it," said Albrecht, beginning his 20th season as radio analyst for Northwestern. "For this game, that's where I'm at."
Albrecht will be on hand for the start of the Sonny Dykes coaching era, but also for the first game that the Bears will wear No. 42 decals on their helmets, honoring Chuck Muncie, who died May 13 at the age of 60.
Muncie was runner-up for the Heisman Trophy in 1975 when he rushed for 1,460 yards. At 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, he was a larger-than-life running back for his day.
"The first time I saw him in spring practice, I thought, 'That guy's got the wrong number on. Why's a lineman wearing No. 42?' " said Albrecht, who later spent five NFL seasons with the Chicago Bears, paving the way for Walter Payton.
"I tell people I blocked for the two greatest running backs of all time."
Dykes said he will make sure his players know Muncie's story, not only his prowess on the field but how he overcame substance-abuse issues, establishing a foundation to assist at-risk East Bay youth in the latter years of his life.
"Everybody that met Chuck loved him and really cared about him," Dykes said. "Everybody said he had a huge heart and was a special guy."
"These guys lift weights and if you X-rayed all our players' backs, a lot of their backs don't look completely healthy. It's just the nature of football," Dykes said. "I think he's going to be fine."