Dec. 9 (UPI) -- In advance of the Chicago Bears retiring his No. 89 jersey during Monday Night Football, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn declared “Mike Ditka Day” in the state on Monday.
Quinn declared Ditka Day in recognition of the former tight end and coach becoming the 14th and final player to have his number retired by the Bears.
“When people think of football they think of Mike Ditka,” Quinn said. “He was the best tight end of all time, and 'Da Coach’ molded and guided arguably the best football team of all time -- the 1985 Super Bowl-winning Bears. He is one of just two men to win a championship as both player and coach. I urge all Illinoisans to join me in congratulating him today.”
Ditka was drafted by the Bears in 1961 and he was named the Rookie of the Year. He was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1988 with 427 career receptions for 5,812 yards and 43 career touchdowns. He coached the Bears from 1982 to 1992 and helped guide them to a Super Bowl victory in 1985. During that season, he was named NFL Coach of the Year.
The team has said that too many numbers have been retired, and No. 89 will be the last to go. The Bears will be looking to defeat the Dallas Cowboys during the game on Monday night.