Chicago Bears retire `Da Coach` Mike Ditka`s No. 89 - New York News

Chicago Bears retire `Da Coach` Mike Ditka`s No. 89

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

One of Chicago's most iconic sports figures took center stage at halftime as the Chicago Bears take on the Dallas Cowboys. The Bears retired "Da Coach" Mike Ditka's number Monday night.

Before the game, FOX 32's Lou Canellis sat down with No. 89 at his restaurant to see what sort of emotions the hall of famer will be feeling.

Ditka became the 14th player to have his number retired by the organization. The Bears currently have 27 players in the pro football Hall of Fame.

Gov. Pat Quinn's office also said Monday that he's declared it "Mike Ditka Day" in honor of the former Chicago Bears player and football coach.

Additionally, the state of Illinois is honoring "Da Coach" with special license plates.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White presented Ditka with two specialty plates. Both are navy blue and orange and have the Bears logo. One says "Ditka" and the other has his number "89."

In a statement, Quinn calls Ditka "the best tight end of all time," and that he "molded and guided arguably the best football team" - referring to the 1985 Super Bowl champs.

Ditka was drafted by the Bears in 1961 and played for the team through 1966. He returned to coach from 1982 until 1992.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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