Keith Ortego

Ortego was a 1981 Eunice High graduate and after a stellar career at McNeese State was signed as an undrafted free agent with the Chicago Bears.

Ortego passed away on March 2 at the age of 58.

Coach Johnny Bourque said Keith was an incredible athlete who played two football seasons for the Bobcats.

“I arrived at Eunice High in 1979 and I talked him into playing for us in 1979 and 1980 seasons,” the coach said. “He was a very intelligent player and very hard worker who looked for perfection all the time.

At McNeese State, Ortego was an All-Southland Conference and All-Louisiana receiver who led his team in receptions with 21 (for 340 yards) in 1983 and 32 (for 602 yards) in 1984. 

He left as the school’s second all-time leading receiver with 1,202 yards and was inducted into the McNeese State Hall of Fame in 2016.

Ortego signed with the Bears in 1985 as an undrafted rookie from McNeese State and appeared in 31 games with 13 starts over three seasons.

After undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery, Ortego returned to play in the final seven games, averaging 9.3 yards on 17 punt returns. He also appeared in all three playoff contests, returning two punts for 20 yards in the Bears’ 46-10 rout of the Patriots in Super Bowl XX.

In the 34 regular season and playoff games that Ortego played in from 1985-87, the Bears compiled a 29-5 record.

Ortego is the only McNeese player to have ever been a part of a Super Bowl championship team, that being the 1985 Chicago Bears who many say is the greatest team in NFL history.

 Ortego’s parents are the late Amperman Leo Ortego and 92-year old mother Charlene Bellard.

“He loved McNeese and the Bobcats.” Bourque said. “He is missed by all who knew him.”