Four downs with Ditka

Written By BY MIKE DITKA Posted: 03/02/2014, 02:39am
Array EVANSTON, IL - SEPTEMBER 07: Kain Colter #2 of the Northwestern Wildcats rolls out to pass against the Syracuse Orange at Ryan Field on September 7, 2013 in Evanston, Illinois. Northwestern defeated Syracuse 48-20. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Kain Colter

1. Do the media and fans make way more of the NFL combine than what it really is?

Yeah, they do. If a guy is a football player, you assume he can run, jump, lift weights and stretch. There are some variables you can put credence into, but not a lot. I think you have to look at, individually, the attitude, the character, the talent and those things. You can weigh that into it more than the other things. If a guy’s a player, then he’s a player. Look at the film for the last three years and you can find out if he can play.

2. It looks like the NFL will expand the playoff format to include 14 teams, two more than the 12 now. Are you in favor?

I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I think it’ll create more interest and generate more money. The interest will be there with a lot more fans. Is it right? I don’t know that it is.

3. Were you surprised the Eagles re-signed Riley Cooper to a long-term contract after he used a racial slur last season? Could that become a locker-room problem?

No. He’s a good football player. His mouth operated before his brain was in gear, no question about that. Sometimes you have to be careful in doing those things. But he’s not a bad kid. It’s a slang word used by black people, white people — you should never use it. But there are people who do use it. It probably slipped out. If he had to do it over, he’d probably take it back. He’s made his apologies, and the Eagles want him for his talent right now.

4. NU player Kain Colter has led a movement to try to unionize college athletes. Do you see a need for this?

I don’t. When you go to college, your pay is that you’re going to get a four-year education, which is worth more than most of those people can afford anyway. I don’t see there is any reason to have to unionize. I think you would ruin the sport of college football if you unionize.

Unions were essential in our country in the ’20s and ’30s and ’40s, but they have overstepped their boundaries in a lot of areas right now. I don’t know how much of a necessity it would be for them to get involved, or if it would be any good.

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