Mike Ditka transitions from coaching to actingContinue reading.
Mike Ditka watches Bears practice, talks to team
Da Coach was back with the Bears on Tuesday. Mike Ditka — a revered icon in Chicago because of the Bears’ 1985 Super Bowl team — watched practice at Halas Hall and spoke to the team afterward.
“It was good,” quarterback Jay Cutler said. “I think he echoed a lot of the same things that [coach] Marc [Trestman] says every day. I think there is a common thread between guys that have been there and done it and won championships and know what it is all about – enjoying the game, respecting your teammates, taking advantage of each and every day. That is what Marc tells us. That is what a lot of the great ones tell us. That is what coach Ditka said as well.”
Trestman reached out to Ditka last week. He invited him to see the renovated Halas Hall facilities and to spend time with his players.
“His message was a great one,” Trestman said. “It’s about the relationships that you have with your teammates, it’s about the camaraderie, it’s about the locker room. The money is the least significant portion of it. I think that’s pretty universal in the game of football when you’ve been around it a long time.”
Trestman initially contacted Ditka after he was named the Bears’ coach, replacing Lovie Smith after nine seasons.
“I thought that was a great place to start — somebody who knew as much about the Bears and the tradition of the Bears as he does — and it turned out to be dinner with our wives,” Trestman said. “He was extremely gracious and kind. It was humbling to be with him and we were appreciative to be able to spend the time with him.”
Trestman has invited others in the past to speak to the Bears. In the offseason, he brought in former MVP quarterback Rich Gannon to talk to his quarterbacks.
“[Ditka's] got an open invitation to come by any time he would like,” Trestman said. “I’m just glad he did. He got a chance to see the facility, meet some of the people that are working here and to get a chance to be around our players. I thought it was awesome.”