Mike Ditka, Legendary Chicago Bears Coach, Suffers Minor Stroke

 @ericbrownzzz
on November 17 2012 4:23 PM
Ditka
Legendary Chicago Bears head coach Mike Ditka was hospitalized after suffering a minor stroke Friday evening. Reuters

Legendary Chicago Bears head coach Mike Ditka was hospitalized after suffering a minor stroke Friday evening.

Ditka, 73, suffered the stroke while playing cards at a country club in suburban Chicago, ESPN reported.

Ditka told the Chicago Tribune Friday night that doctors advised him he had had a "very minor stroke." The head coach of the NFL's Bears between 1982 and 1992 also told the Tribune, "I feel good right now, and it's not a big deal."

The Pro Football Hall of Famer told ESPN Saturday morning that he hopes to be out of the hospital in time to watch the football games Sunday.

This stroke was the first major health issue for Ditka since 1988, when he suffered a heart attack on Nov. 2 after watching the Bears lose to the New England Patriots. Ditka was out of commission for 11 days before returning to coach the Bears against the Washington Redskins on Nov. 13. The Bears won, 34-14.

Ditka famously oversaw the Bears’ 1985 championship season, capped by their win in Super Bowl XX over the Patriots, 46-10. Many argue that the 1985 Chicago Bears are the only team that could challenge the 1972 Miami Dolphins for the title of “Best NFL Team Ever.”

After a 5-11 season in 1992, Ditka was fired by the Bears, but he ultimately went on to coach the New Orleans Saints from 1997 to 1999. His overall coaching record was 121-95.

As an NFL tight end, Ditka was named rookie of the year in 1961 while playing for the Bears, and he subsequently made five consecutive Pro Bowls.

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