Hall of Famer Gale Sayers to be honored with north Omaha street sign

An Omaha Hall of Fame football player is being commemorated with a stretch of Pinkney Street being renamed in his honor.
Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 9:50 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Gale Sayers will no longer be just a household name in Omaha. Nearly three years after his passing, his name is going on a street sign near where he grew up.

Tuesday, the Omaha City Council voted unanimously to commemoratively rename Pinkney Street near Kountze Park in north Omaha from 24th Street to Florence Boulevard.

Sayers attended Lothrop Elementary School and played in the Kountze Park area just a couple blocks east. His older brother, Roger, believes if kids see Gale’s name on a street sign right near where they went to school, they’ll get inspired.

“It’s a reminder that they can accomplish the same things that he did,” said Roger.

Sayers was and still is the youngest person inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The running back played seven seasons for the Chicago Bears before a knee injury ended his professional career. He then transitioned to sports administration and community organizing.

Councilmember Juanita Johnson, who represents the area, agreed on the significance of the sign.

“We are what we see. And putting that iconic sign up there in the heart of north Omaha is definitely something that is very much needed to our inter-city youth,” she said.

In addition to masterfully weaving through holes and running down the stretch, Sayers’ achievements extended beyond the field impacting the Omaha area long after hanging up his cleats.

“He spent years supporting the Wesley House Organization. He supported the Bryant Center for Youth, the Boys Club,” said Roger. “He came back to Omaha as often as he could because of his love for the city and the fact that he knew his roots were right here in Omaha.”

A celebration last year at Omaha Central High School, his alma mater, combined with this recognition moves his brother who watched him achieve so much.

“It’s something that tugs at your heart, but it’s also something that you really, really appreciate...he would have a lot of good things to say about the Omaha area. Period.”