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Q + A Mike Ditka

Sept. 08, 2003
Sept. 08, 2003

Table of Contents
Sept. 8, 2003

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Sports Illustrated Bonus Section: Si Adventure

Q + A Mike Ditka

The 63-year-old Hall of Fame tight end, Super Bowl-winning Bears
coach and restaurant owner is the national spokesperson for the
NFL's new Tackling Men's Health campaign.

This is an article from the Sept. 8, 2003 issue Original Layout

SI: Have you mellowed as you've gotten older?

Ditka: I think I'm pretty mellow. People have one image of me
that's really not a true image. Yeah, I'm competitive and I get
mad and I don't apologize for any of that. Things that aren't
important to me, I don't get mad about, but football was my job
and it was important to me.

SI: So, how competitive are you these days anyway?

Ditka: I'm competitive in anything I do. I want to win whether
it's golf or cards or the restaurant business.

SI: If somebody offered you a coaching gig today, would you take
it?

Ditka: I don't know. Nobody is offering me one.

SI: You've talked about having erectile dysfunction (ED), and
you're the spokesman for the impotence drug Levitra. Could you
have been as open about such things when you were a younger man?

Ditka: No. You have that macho image, and you don't want anybody
to know [about your erectile difficulties]. As you get older you
understand it's a part of life. It doesn't make you dead or
inadequate. It's just a problem you have, and you correct it.

SI: What would have happened if a guy brought up ED when you were
playing in the league?

Ditka: Players would have snickered, and you probably would have
had a nickname. I don't think that's true today. People are more
understanding.

SI: As the first NFL tight end to be enshrined in Canton, what's
your take on Jeremy Shockey?

Ditka: He's a very good player, but time will tell. One thing
about football is, you let your playing do your talking. If he
does that, he'll be one of the best.

SI: Who was the best player you ever coached?

Ditka: Walter Payton. He's the best I've ever seen as a complete
player. That means a runner, a blocker, a receiver and a leader.
He was the whole package.

SI: Still know the words to the Super Bowl Shuffle?

Ditka: I never did know it. The one thing I do know is those guys
could not dance. --Richard Deitsch

For more from Mike Ditka, go to si.com/magazine.

COLOR PHOTO: TODD ROSENBERG No coaching offers