Pete J. Pérez was born on April 23, 1924 in Aurora, Illinois to Mexican parents who migrated from the silver mines of Zacatecas, México. Pete attended Marmion Military Academy where he played football, and which would later earn him a scholarship to the University of Illinois. Pete played offensive tackle for the “Fighting Illini.”
In 1945, Pete signed with the Chicago Bears of the National Football League, where he started as offensive guard. Pete was released at the end of the season. Pete received $150 per game. After retiring from professional football, Pete became a law-forcement officer for the Aurora Police Department.
Pete acknowledges that “in these times, Mexicanos were a rarity in football.” Pete regrets not finishing his education at the University of Illinois. Pete was one of the earliest Chicanos to play professional football and should be recognized for opening the doors to professional football for players of Mexican descent who would come after him.