Honoring Mike Ditka: The Player

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Mike Ditka the player (Photo via Sports Illustrated)

Mike Ditka the player (Photo via Sports Illustrated)

The Chicago Bears will take care of some long overdue business this coming Monday night when they retire Mike Ditka’s #89.  I’ve decided to do a little three part series to honor Mike Ditka – The Player, The Coach , The Legend.

Most Bears fans relate to Mike Ditka as the coach, or Daaa Coach is you listen to the Superfans, but Ditka was a hell of a player before he started patrolling the sidelines.

Mike Ditka was selected by George Halas and the Bears with the 5th pick in the 1961 draft out of Pitt.  Ditka was a a star on both sides of the ball, but it was his play as a tight end and his unique ability as a pass catcher that caught Papa Bear’s eye.  Before Ditka, the tight end was mostly like Eben Britton, an extension of the offensive line.   Ditka entered the league and immediately became Jimmy Graham.  He was unstoppable.  How unstoppable? 

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