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1985 Bears Coverage: McMahon `greets' press

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.

McMahon `greets’ press

Dan Pompei

Originally published Jan. 1, 1986

There was no new exotic haircut for Jim McMahon yesterday at this training camp away from home.

There was, however, news that he is the first alternate at quarterback for the Pro Bowl – and San Francisco’s Joe Montana is on the verge of bowing out with sore ribs and a sore knee.

But McMahon’s attitude toward the honor and his questioners was more punk than punk rock.

“I could care less about that bowl,” McMahon said.

That’s a McNugget from a different bird.

Some of his teammates cared so much about “that Bowl,” defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan thought their attempts at making it were affecting play and work habits adversely.

McMahon said he thinks he didn’t play enough to go.

“It’s a long season, then you have to go to a game that doesn’t mean anything,” he said. “Once the season’s over, I like it to be over and time to rest for me. For an extra $5,000, it’s not worth it to me.”

But McMahon probably won’t turn down the invitation. Only someone incredibly puritan or incredibly spoiled would turn down a free week in Hawaii and $10,000 for being on the winning team or $5,000 for playing for the losers.

“I’ll go there and play golf if they want to let me do that. I go to Hawaii every year anyway,” said McMahon, who like just about every player in the NFL would rather go to the Super Bowl.

Bears coach Mike Ditka said McMahon’s Pro Bowl stance is a realistic attitude for him.

“He wants to keep improving,” Ditka said. “If he improves like he has this year, he’ll be in Pro Bowls and everything else.”

McMahon wasn’t a Pro Bowl of cherries yesterday at Suwanee, Ga., as the Bears opened camp in preparation for Sunday’s NFC playoff game against the New York Giants.

With a national media audience elbowing for space to hear his every word, McMahon played the brat in a roomful of choir boys.

He didn’t pass up the opportunity to worsen his already rocky relationship with the media.

McMahon asked members of the press where they were spending New Year’s Eve so he knew where not to go.

He said the media was a total pain to him. “Stupid questions, mostly,” he explained.

As he worked on further ingraining his contrived image McMahon criticized the press for exposing it.

“You guys are worried about what everybody thinks. I can give a spit about what everybody thinks. It’s not who I am or what I am as long as I play ball.”

Then McMahon talked about who Ditka is.

Trouble is, McMahon’s not entirely sure because he said the Bears still are trying to figure Ditka out.

McMahon said “it’s trouble at times,” playing for Ditka. “We don’t always agree on everything but I think he’s fair.

“He’ll tell you to your face. I’ve heard it quite a few times.

“If things go wrong, you’re going to hear about it whether you’re right next to him or across the field,” McMahon said.

“There’s no wishy-washy person in Mike, and that’s the kind of guy I like to play for.”