People in and around the sports world are honoring the life and legacy of Chicago Bears great Dick Butkus following his death ... with Barack Obama, Bill Belichick and more sharing their memories of the Hall of Fame linebacker.
"In Chicago, Dick Butkus was football," Obama -- a diehard Windy City sports fan -- said on Friday. "Thinking of his family today, and all the Bears fans who loved watching one of the best to ever play the game."
"A ton of respect for Dick, his play style, what he did for the game. At that time, the way he played, he was the ultimate middle linebacker."
Former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher also joined in paying his respects ... saying, "Dick Butkus was not only a Legend, he was my Idol. Loved his Frankness, Toughness, and the Inspiration he was for me! You set the Standard for the role of a MLB! Love you Dick."
Current Bears wide receiver D.J. Moore -- who finished with 8 receptions, 230 yards and 3 touchdowns during Chicago's win over the Washington Commanders on Thursday Night Football -- also shared a touching message about 51 after the game.