1985 Bears Coverage: Injury may bench Hampton

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Every day of the 2015 Chicago Bears season, Chicago Sun-Times Sports will revisit its coverage 30 years ago during the 1985 Bears’ run to a Super Bowl title.

Injury may bench Hampton

Brian Hewitt

Originally published Nov. 19, 1985

Bear defensive end Dan Hampton suffered a badly bruised right shoulder in Sunday’s 44-0 victory in Dallas and could miss Sunday’s game against the Falcons at Soldier Field.

Hampton had difficulty lifting the arm above his shoulder yesterday, but X-rays proved negative for a separation. Bear officials said the bruise was in the same area (acrimioclavicular joint) in which quarterback Jim McMahon developed his tendinitis.

“If we had to put him on the injury report today, we’d list Dan as `questionable,’” said Bear spokesman Ken Valdiserri.

Coach Mike Ditka said Mike Hartenstine “probably” would replace Hampton if he is unable to start.

Ditka also said quarterback Steve Fuller was “pretty sore in the legs, knees, thigh. But we’ll just assume Steve’s ready to go.”

Ditka added McMahon will start if he’s ready to play. But he’s not counting on it. “If Jim’s ready, he’s throwing and he’s 100 percent, we’ll start him. He’s earned that right.”

Is Ditka concerned McMahon may not return at all this year?

“I would tell people not to be too concerned with that. I just think he’ll be back. If he’s not, we’ll just play with the other guy Fuller and go our way.”

The Bears hope to test McMahon’s arm in practice tomorrow.

GALE WARNING: The Bears impressed everybody except Gale Sayers with their trouncing of the Cowboys.

“The Bears are not 44 points better than the Dallas Cowboys,” Sayers told WMAQ-radio’s Chet Coppock yesterday. “They’re not

44 points better than any team in the league. Things fell into place and they blew them out.”

“But the thing about it,” said the former great Bear running back. “I would hate to see this Bear team go 15-1 or 16-0 and lose the first round of the playoffs. That could happen.

“So, no. They are not a championship team yet. They’re on a winning streak of 11 ballgames. But they’ve still got some tough

ballgames ahead. And the main thing about this whole season is the second season hasn’t begun yet. And that’s the championship season.”

LET’S DO LUNCH: Bear cornerback Mike Richardson revealed that defensive tackle Steve McMichael buys the team lunch every time the Bears knock a quarterback out of the game.

The Bears have done it twice this year. The first victim was Packer quarterback Lynn Dickey Oct. 21. Sunday they added Cowboy Danny White to the list.

“I never heard of that,” Ditka told reporters when apprised of Richardson’s remarks. “Do you believe everything players say? You know, they put you guys on a lot. They really do. They don’t mean that. In this game, nobody tries to knock anybody out.”

Asked if he ever put reporters on, Ditka just smiled.

WARM THOUGHTS: Now that the Bears have clinched the NFC Central division championship, they are assured of a two-week break between their last regular-season game Dec. 22 in Detroit and their first playoff game Jan. 5.

They already have begun considering warm weather practice sites for those two weeks. Last year they trained in Georgia before their playoff victory over the Redskins and in Santa Rosa, Calif., before their loss to the 49ers in the NFC championship game.

“We’ll look into a number of places,” said Ditka. “But if we get a break in the weather, and it isn’t unbearably cold, I wouldn’t mind staying here and working.”

YARD STICK: Ditka on leaving Walter Payton in the game to achieve his sixth straight 100-yard performance against Dallas after the outcome was secure.”I’m not gonna apologize to any network for that.”

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