(NEW YORK) — The Chicago Bears announced Friday that they will retire Mike Ditka’s No. 89 on Dec. 9 during halftime of their game against the Dallas Cowboys at Soldier Field.
“Mike Ditka embodies the spirit of everything the Bears are about,” Bears chairman George H. McCaskey said to the team’s website.
Ditka’s No. 89 will be the 14th number retired by the Bears. He played for them from 1961-66 before coming back to coach the team from 1982-92. Ditka is the only person in the NFL’s modern era to win a Super Bowl title for the same team both as a player and a coach.
As a player, Ditka ranks first in Bears history among tight ends and fourth overall with 4,502 receiving yards, fifth with 316 catches and 34 touchdowns. He was also a two-time All-Pro and six-time Pro-Bowler.
“To have your jersey retired, it’s something that if I went through my life and it never happened, it would never change the love I had for what I had in Chicago playing for the Bears,” Ditka said on “Mike & Mike in the Morning” on ESPN Radio. “But it’s certainly a tremendous honor when you think about the guys who have [had their numbers] retired. “
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Jill Martin, CNN