Rookie head coach Marc Trestman brought someone in to talk to the team Tuesday who has a little more Bears history.
For the first time since he was fired in 1992, Hall of Famer Mike Ditka was back at Halas Hall.
“Coach Ditka, when I got the job, I felt that was a great place to start, somebody who knows as much about the Bears and the traditions of the Bears as he does,” Trestman said, via Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune. “And it turned out to be dinner with our wives.
“I called him last week with the idea that I left him with to see the new facility and spend some time with our players, and say hello to them. And he graciously agreed.”
Of course, few of those players remember much about his playing days, or were old enough to follow football when he coached the Bears to a win in Super Bowl XX.
“All you had seen was the ‘Saturday Night Live’ skits and stuff,” safety Chris Conte said. “I had never really heard him speak before in person. So it was cool to get to meet him. He really wanted us to take away from football the relationships and not think about the money. Really, what’s important are the people in the locker room.”
And while their styles are different, quarterback Jay Cutler said much of Ditka’s message was similar to what Trestman has been preaching.
“He echoed a lot of the same things that Marc says every day,” Cutler said. “There is a common thread between guys who have been there and done it and won championships and know what it is all about — enjoying the game, respecting your teammates, taking advantage of each and every day. That is what Marc tells us. That is what a lot of the great ones tell us. That is what Coach Ditka said as well.”
Getting Ditka back in the fold is an important step for the organization, as well, after years of hard feelings following his firing.