Thankfully the Chicago Bears organization clarified this issue when they announced that after Ditka’s, they will no longer retire uniform numbers for players.
I say this because I was getting confused. Unfortunately from a football operations perspective, the Bears went down a slippery slope of retiring numbers years and years ago. For many years they have been the team with the most retired jersey numbers in the NFL.
The last time the Bears retired any numbers was in 1994, when they retired the numbers of Dick Butkus (51) and Gale Sayers (40) on the same night. Then recently it was revealed that new Bears linebacker James Anderson will wear Mike Singletary‘s number 50 during the 2013 season. Seems odd.
Then out of the blue, last week it was reported that the Bears would retire uniform number 89 for Mike Ditka. Then finally, that this will be the last number retired. I wholeheartedly agree that Ditka deserves the honor. And it will be cool to see it happen on Monday Night Football against the Cowboys in December. Let’s just hope that game goes better for the Bears than the last jersey retirement ceremony game.
How will the Bears honor great players going forward, or the likes of Dan Hampton, Singletary and Brian Urlacher when they won’t be able to retire jerseys? I’ve long thought that there should be a Chicago Bears Ring of Honor, such as the one on my website. The Bears state that the player photos ringing the inside of Soldier Field are their Ring of Honor. But to me, that’s not a true Ring of Honor.