Bears to retire Mike Ditka number

May 24, 2013 (CHICAGO)

Ditka confirmed earlier reports on ESPN Radio Friday morning.

The jersey will be retired December 9 during a Monday Night Football game against the Dallas Cowboys at Soldier Field.

The former tight end last played for the Bears 47 years ago and also coached the team to its Super Bowl victory.

"Mike Ditka embodies the spirit of everything the Bears are about," Chairman George H. McCaskey said in a statement released by the team. "He's an icon. The last time we won the championship Mike Ditka was our coach and the last time we won before that Mike Ditka was a player.

Ditka played for the Bears for six seasons. He will be the 14th Bears player to have his number retired.

"It's a tremendous honor," Ditka said in the release. "It's something that I didn't anticipate or expect, but it's a great honor. When you think of all the great Bears players who have had their jerseys retired, I can't say that there's any greater honor.

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