Former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka suffered a minor stroke on Friday. He's telling fans he's fine, but he will be taking the weekend off from his job as analyst at ESPN.
Former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka suffered a minor stroke on Friday. He's telling fans he's fine, but he will be taking the weekend off from his job as analyst at ESPN. Kiichiro Sato/AP
Former Bears Coach Mike Ditka was hospitalized after suffering a minor stroke on Friday. The Hall of Famer says doctors have assured him the stroke was slight, and he told The Chicago Tribune, "I feel good right now and it's not a big deal." As the Tribune explains:
"Ditka was at a suburban country club playing cards Friday when he noticed his hands 'weren't working quite right,' and then he had a problem speaking."
These days, the 73-year-old former tight end is an analyst at ESPN, but will be taking this weekend off, according to network producers, who tweeted that Ditka "wanted everyone to know he's OK."
It's been a long while since Ditka has suffered any major health problems. While coaching the Bears, he suffered a heart attack in 1988 at the age of 49. The Tribune notes that Ditka was back in the office eight days later — "and back on the sidelines in 11 days against doctor's orders."
Ditka's legendary career began with the Bears as a player when he was the fifth overall pick in the 1961 draft out of Pittsburgh. He was named rookie of the year, made five straight Pro Bowls, and went on to play for the Eagles and the Cowboys before returning to the Bears as coach in 1982. He took the team to a Super Bowl victory before being fired in 1992 after a losing season.