Mike Ditka, former head coach for the Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints, said he regrets not running against President Barack Obama in the Illinois 2004 Senate race.
“Not that I would have won,” Ditka said, speaking at the grand opening of an oil company in North Dakota, “but I probably would have and he wouldn’t be in the White House.”
It's the "biggest mistake I've ever made."
The former NFL coach said Republicans tried to convince him to run against Obama when primary winner Jack Ryan dropped out of the race due to a controversy over his divorce from "Star Trek: Voyage" actor Jeri Ryan, ABC News reported.
Commenting on a possible race against Ditka, Obama said at the time, "He's enormously popular. I think if he gets in, he immediately becomes a favorite."
In 2011, Ditka gave Obama a Bears jersey with the number 85 and "Obama" written on the back during a visit to the White House.