On Friday morning, the Chicago Bears officially announced plans to retire Mike Ditka’s jersey No. 89 during halftime of the team’s ESPN Monday Night Football game against the Dallas Cowboys on Dec. 9.
Ditka, an ESPN NFL analyst since 2004 and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, played and coached for the Bears during his legendary career. In fact, he is the only individual in the NFL’s modern era to win a league championship with the same team as both a player (1963) and head coach (1985).
Selected by the Bears with the fifth overall pick in the 1961 NFL Draft, Ditka was named NFL Rookie of the Year, catching 56 passes for 1,076 yards and 12 touchdowns. In six seasons in the Windy City, he was voted to five Pro Bowls. During his final six NFL seasons, Ditka played with the Philadelphia Eagles (1967-1968) and then the Dallas Cowboys (1969-1972) before retiring.
The video below is from ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike this morning, when Ditka discussed becoming only the 14th player to have his number retired by the Bears.
“We are thrilled that the Bears are honoring Coach Ditka in this way,” added senior coordinating producer Seth Markman, who oversees ESPN’s NFL studio shows. “Everyone who knows Coach, knows how much the Bears and the city of Chicago mean to him. The honor is extra special because it will happen during such a big Monday Night Football game and our ESPN team will be able to celebrate with him.”
Usually in studio in Bristol, Conn., for Monday Night Countdown pregame duties, Ditka will be in Chicago on Dec. 9 when his jersey is retired. Before he is honored that night, Ditka will appear on Countdown alongside Stuart Scott, Trent Dilfer, Ray Lewis and Steve Young.
Could not be happier for Coach Ditka…. glad the Bears are finally giving him the honor he deserves…
— trey wingo (@wingoz) May 24, 2013
— Mike Greenberg (@Espngreeny) May 24, 2013