Chicago Bears legendary head coach Mike Ditka has been hospitalized in Florida, according to a report by the Chicago Sun-Times. He was playing golf in Naples, Florida on Wednesday but was taken to the hospital after not feeling well. He was treated for a heart ailment and is currently recovering in the hospital. Although he is expected to be out after rehab in three or four days.
Best known for his iconic sweater-vest and aviator sunglasses, the 79-year-old Ditka coached the Bears for 11 seasons and tallied a win-loss record of 106-62, winning the Super Bowl in 1985. His defensive juggernaut helmed by Mike Singletary, Leslie Frazier, and countless other standout players, is considered one of the greatest teams in NFL history. Following his tenure with the Bears, he coached the Saints for three seasons (1997-99), compiling a record of 15-33. He retired from coaching shortly thereafter to work in media.
Before becoming the center of Saturday Night Live sketches, Dikta also played his way to the Hall of Fame. He spent 12 years in the NFL, serving as a tight end for the Bears, the Eagles, and the Cowboys. During his career, he caught 427 passes for 5,812 yards, and 43 touchdowns and won Super Bowl VI with the Cowboys. He was enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 1988, becoming the first tight end in league history to earn the honor.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that Ditka has dealt with health issues. He suffered a heart attack while coaching in 1988 but somehow returned to work 11 days later. Possibly his biggest scare came when Ditka suffered a stroke in 2012 while at Bob O’Link Golf Course in Highland Park. He began to feel woozy and had difficulty speaking. As he told ESPN back in 2012, he was playing cards at the time of the stroke.
“I was kind of like driving down the highway of life real fast and I had a flat tire,” Ditka said in the report. “It opens your eyes…I feel good about everything. I?’m going to be all right.“
While the heart ailment put panic in the hearts of Chicago die-hards, Ditka should be fine. He will be out of the hospital in mere days, and then he can get back to doing what he loves most–playing golf and watching Matt Nagy’s team play well. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Ditka is a fan of the first-year coach, and he believes that Chicago’s future is bright with both him and Mitch Trubisky in town.
“I must say I think he’s fantastic,” said Ditka. “You gotta win the division before you get to the playoffs and I believe the Bears are going to do it. I think Nagy is doing a heck of a job.”