Mike Ditka's No. 89 to be retired by Chicago Bears

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Mike Ditka's No. 89 will be retired by the Chicago Bears during halftime of their Dec. 9 Monday night game against the Dallas Cowboys at Soldier Field.  FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Mike Ditka's No. 89 will be retired by the Chicago Bears during halftime of their Dec. 9 Monday night game against the Dallas Cowboys at Soldier Field.

CHICAGO — Hall of Famer Mike Ditka will have his No. 89 retired by the Chicago Bears next season.

The Bears said Friday the number will be retired at halftime of their Monday night game against the Dallas Cowboys at Soldier Field on Dec. 9, a fitting tribute for a player who revolutionized the tight end position with his pass-catching ability and later coached the 1985 team to the Super Bowl championship.

In a statement, he called it “a tremendous honor” and added: “When you think of all the great Bears players who have had their jerseys retired, I can’t say that there’s any greater honor. I’m very humbled by it and very thankful that (chairman George McCaskey) made the decision to go ahead and do that because it’s really great.”

McCaskey said Ditka “embodies the spirit of everything the Bears are about.”

Ditka is the only person in the NFL’s modern era to win a title with the same team as both a player (1963) and head coach.

The fifth overall pick in the 1961 draft, he played six seasons with the Bears and made five Pro Bowls. He caught 316 passes for 4,503 yards with 34 touchdowns with Chicago before going on to play six more years with Philadelphia and Dallas.

He was hired as the Bears’ coach in January 1982 and went on to lead them to a 106-62 record, with the ‘85 team going 15-1 while shuffling its way to the championship.

Ditka’s number will be the 14th retired by the Bears.

JETS: A person familiar with the situation tells the Associated Press that running back Mike Goodson is expected to return to practice Tuesday despite his legal troubles.

Goodson missed the Jets’ first three Organized Team Activity practices this week after being arrested last Friday on multiple charges of drug and weapons possession. He offered a plea of not guilty to all charges Wednesday in Morris County Superior Court in Morristown, N.J.

The Jets’ next OTA will be Tuesday. It will be the fourth of 10 voluntary practices this spring.

Goodson has also played for Oakland and Carolina in his four NFL seasons, and has 722 career yards rushing. He was signed by the Jets as a free agent in March.

BENGALS: Signed running back Giovani Bernard, of North Carolina, leaving only one of their 10 draft picks without a deal.

Bernard was the second of their two picks in the second round. He’ll get a chance to win a spot as a change-of-pace back, complementing BenJarvus Green-Ellis.

SEAHAWKS: Lost backup tight end Anthony McCoy for possibly the entire 2013 season after he sustained a torn Achilles during an organized team activity earlier this week.

OBITUARY: Dick Evey a tackle who played most of his eight seasons in the NFL with the Chicago Bears, has died at age 72.

Smith Funeral & Cremation Service in Maryville, Tenn., said he died Thursday at the Ben Atchley State Veterans Home in Knoxville after a long illness.

Evey played from 1964-69 with the Bears, who selected him out of Tennessee in the first round of the 1964 draft. Evey played with the Los Angeles Rams in 1970 and the Detroit Lions in 1971.


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