The Chicago Bears surprised everyone when they announced they had placed a bid for the 326-acre Arlington Park, but now Mike Ditka says the team should stay in the city of Chicago.
“The Chicago Bears belong in the city of Chicago,” Ditka told The Daily Herald. “That’s it. Call me an old-timer, call me a traditionalist, whatever. They’re a Chicago institution, and that should be the end of it.”
But the 81-year-old admitted that he has not been closely following news of the team’s plans to move.
“I couldn’t tell you anything that [Bears president and CEO] Ted Phillips has announced in the last week,” Ditka said.
“I’ve been too busy trying to get this old body out on a golf course. But I’ll also tell ya’ this. Just like the Bears belong in Chicago, like Coach [George] Halas had it, Arlington Park should remain a racetrack,” he said. “It’s a gem, a thing of beauty. Arlington Heights is known around the world because of that racetrack. Racetrack in Arlington Heights, Bears in Chicago. That’s the end of it.”
The Daily Herald reports that Ditka snorted away a suggestion that “Bears weather” is a myth and that the team should not be playing in a stadium with any kind of roof.
“You want to tell me that a team coming up from a warm-weather climate isn’t giving away a significant advantage to try and play in cold and rain outside in a Chicago December or January?” he said. “You can’t practice for that kind of weather. You can’t simulate it. You’ve got to be in it. Chicago Bears football weather is a great part of the team’s legacy, and all of that legacy in Chicago in my life has been outdoors.”