Bears legend Mike Ditka hospitalized after suffering heart attack in Florida
The Pro Football Hall of Famer is expected to be in the hospital for several days
Former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka is recovering in a Florida hospital after suffering a heart attack earlier this week.
According to WGN, the health scare happened on Wednesday while Ditka was playing golf in Naples. Ditka's longtime agent, Steve Mandell, told ESPN that the Pro Football Hall of Famer should be headed home from the hospital in the next few days after having a pacemaker inserted.
"Coach Ditka had a mild heart attack earlier this week. Doctors inserted a pacemaker, and he is doing much better," Mandell said. "He appreciates the outpouring of support and expects to be home soon."
This isn't the first time that Ditka has dealt with a heart issue. Back in November 1988, the former Bears coach suffered a heart attack during the NFL regular season. However, Ditka didn't let that slow him down as he returned to the sideline just 11 days later.
The 79-year-old coach has mostly stayed out of the spotlight over the past few years after a lengthy career where he was either playing football, coaching football or talking about football.
Ditka's time in the NFL started in 1961 when the Bears selected him with the fifth overall pick in the NFL Draft. As a tight end, Ditka ended up spending 12 seasons in the NFL, which included stints with the Bears (1961-66), Eagles (1967-68) and Cowboys (1969-72). Ditka won his only Super Bowl as a player during the 1971 season when Cowboys beat the Dolphins 24-3 in Super Bowl VI. That win gave Ditka two NFL titles in his career as he also took home a championship with the Bears in 1963. Ditka eventually became the first tight end ever inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame (1988).
Ten years after playing his final down, Ditka returned to Chicago and took the Bears coaching job in 1982. As Bears coach, Ditka basically became a living legend in 1985 when he led one of the greatest teams in NFL history to a 15-1 season and a win in Super Bowl XX. Ditka is still such an icon in Chicago that current Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky dressed up as him for Halloween.
Hundreds of fans also regularly sports Ditka's trademark sweater vests at almost every Bears game.
After 11 seasons with the Bears, Ditka took some time off before returning to football to coach the Saints for three seasons beginning in 1997.
After his run in New Orleans, Ditka spent nearly 20 years in the media with stints at both NBC and ESPN.
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