Bears say Mike Ditka’s 89 will be the last number they retire
On December 9, 2013, the Chicago Bears will retire former player and coach Mike Ditka’s number. After being drafted fifth overall out of the University of Pittsburgh, Mike Ditka played for the Chicago Bears from 1961 to 1966. From there, he went on to play for the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys.
After finishing his career, Ditka came back to coach the Bears from 1982 to 1992.
As a player, Ditka won two Super Bowls with other teams but as a coach, Ditka won Super Bowl XX over the New England Patriots.
The Bears have retired the most numbers in the NFL at 14 and now, owner George McCaskey says Ditka’s number will be the last.
“If there is going to be a last one, there is no more appropriate one than 89,”
This means that Dan Hampton, Mike Singletary, Richard Dent and Brian Urlacher won’t have their numbers retired. Hampton says he is fine with not having his number retired.
“It’s simple math,” Hampton said. “This is a franchise with so many great players. If everybody’s number got retired, it would diminish the honor in a way. I understand. The trap of it all is that if you played for the Bears, you’re one of many. If you played in Tampa, what is there, a handful of guys?”
It makes sense for the franchise to limit the amount of numbers they retire. Eventually, they won’t have anymore numbers to give to their current players.