An All-Pro linebacker who was one of the “Monsters of the Midway,” and helped the Chicago Bears to a National Football League title in 1963.
Joseph Francis Fortunato was born March 28, 1930 in Mingo Junction, Ohio, and played his college football at Mississippi State University.
He was drafted by the Chicago Bears in 1952, but military service prevented him from joining the team until 1955.
He quickly became a force at linebacker, and was picked for the National Football League All-Pro team in 1958 and four subsequent seasons — 1959, ’62, ’63 and ’65.
Fortunato and his fellow “Monsters of the Midway’’ won the NFL title in 1963, defeating the New York Giants 14-10.
Fortunato ranks second in NFL history, behind Jim Marshall of the Minnesota Vikings, for the most fumbles recovered by a defensive player, with 22.
Fortunato was elected to the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in 1990.