Chicago Bears: 30 greatest players in franchise history
For casual fans of the NFL, chances are when you think of the Bears, an image of a mustachioed Mike Ditka pops into your head. Or, this:
However it may be, there’s no denying that Ditka is one of the most best players in Bears history, and that’s not even beginning to factor in his legendary status as the club’s head coach.
The Bears welcomed Mike Ditka into the organization via the fifth overall selection in the 1961 NFL Draft out of the University of Pittsburgh. The tight end immediately made his mark on the NFL in his rookie year, amassing 1,076 yards and 12 receiving touchdowns, both of which would incredibly be career highs.
Ditka spent his first six seasons in the NFL with Chicago, three times finishing in the top-10 in the league in receiving yards. He made the Pro Bowl in five of those seasons with the Bears, including two First-Team All-Pro selections in 1963 and 1964.
Ditka moved on to Philadelphia and Dallas to finish out his playing career, then spent a number of years as the Cowboys’ assistant head coach. Then, in 1982, the Bears hired Ditka as their head coach. The rest, as they say, is history. A very fond one at that.