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1985 Bears Coverage: Marshall's hit fine with mates

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.

Marshall’s hit fine with mates

Dan Pompei

Originally published Jan. 2, 1986

The Bears are starting a collection for a man who is a millionaire or close to it, a man many consider the most overpaid player on the team.

Please give to the Wilber Marshall fund.

As ludicrous as it sounds, there is validity and honor in their intentions.

Linebacker Mike Singletary is behind the drive to pay for a $2,000 fine assessed to Marshall for the knockout hit he gave Detroit quarterback Joe Ferguson.

“We’re not going to let him pay for it,” Singletary said. “I don’t see how in the world that fine can happen.”

Although Marshall wasn’t called for a penalty on the play, the NFL judged the hit as a cheap shot.

Not all of Marshall’s teammates were reaching in their pockets, however.

Linebacker Otis Wilson said the team should pick it up.

“Two thousand dollars ain’t gonna hurt his pocket. He’s a millionaire,” Wilson said. “If it came down to it, I’d do it, but ask general manager Jerry Vainisi. He’s got all the money.”

Singletary said cornerback Mike Richardson’s loose lips might have brought the fine on.

Earlier in the season Richardson said defensive tackle Steve McMichael buys lunch for the team any time they knock a quarterback out of a game.

“It wasn’t a great statement to make,” Singletary said. “I think a statement like that will get in people’s minds around the league.”

The statement still irks McMichael, who denied it was true.

“He’s just another camera shot jock,” McMichael said of Richardson. “That was just a bunch of crap.”

THE MORNING AFTER: There were some noisemakers on New Year’s Eve even in Suwanee.

Wilson had to be shaken out of bed past noon yesterday because he was late for a press conference. He had been awake earlier in the morning for meetings.

Where did he go last night? Put it this way.

“They don’t serve Dom Perignon at the Waffle House,” he said.

Then the subject changed to hitting.

“What I did last night was as good a hit as I’ve put on anybody,” he said.

When asked if it was a sack, Wilson asked his questioner if he had been hanging out with Oprah Winfrey.

At the same press conference, McMichael said he wasn’t tired at all. “I slept enough in the morning meetings,” he said.

NO HOLDING OUT: There are countless parallels between the Bears and the Giants.

Perhaps the most significant is their stance on holdouts.

When Al Harris and Todd Bell balked at contract offers, the Bears went without them for the season.

Harris’ replacement at linebacker, Marshall, developed into a potential Pro Bowler. Bell’s replacement at safety, Dave Duerson, will play in the Pro Bowl.

When receiver Earnest Gray and cornerback Mark Haynes balked at the Giants’ contract offers, the Giants went without them for a good portion of the season.

Both eventually signed, but Gray – a starter last year and the Giants’ sixth all-time leading receiver – was waived after being ineffective. His replacement, Lionel Manuel, led the Giants with 49 receptions and 859 yards.

Haynes never got untracked after an injury. His replacement, Elvis Patterson, led the Giants with six interceptions.

BEAR DOWN LOYOLA: What do the Bears and Loyola’s basketball team have in common?

Both won it all in 1963, and both play Sunday.

To promote Loyola’s 7:30 p.m. game against Marquette at the Rosemont Horizon, athletic director Loyal Park has rented an airplane tailed with a message to fly over Soldier Field during the Bears game.

Bears fans who would like to keep going after the football game can bring their Bears tickets to the Horizon and purchase two Loyola tickets for the price of one.

OTIS’ DAY: Unlike teammate Jim McMahon, Wilson has been dreaming of playing in a Pro Bowl all his life.

He was baffled when McMahon said he “couldn’t care less” about being selected.

“I don’t think a lot of people understand what Jim says,” Wilson said. “He comes out of left field sometimes.

“I think when he re-evaluates his incentive clauses, he’ll feel differently about the Pro Bowl.”

NO MVP: Walter Payton is the NFC’s top offensive player and Singletary its top defensive player, and it’s fine with the Bears if nobody splits hairs over who’s the most valuable Bear.

“A nice thing about this team is we’ve never picked a most valuable player,” says safety Gary Fencik, who would have to get strong consideration, too. “I’ve read about other teams doing that, but it’s always a popularity contest.

“We’re a team. We don’t have to say who’s the most valuable. We’re all valuable.”

MORRIS’ DAY: Stop running back Joe Morris, and you probably stop the New York Giants.

Yesterday Bears defenders couldn’t stop talking about Morris. Their comments ran the gamut from praise to ignorance.

Wilson never heard of him before this season. McMichael said he’s better than any running back the Bears have faced this year.

“He’s faster than anyone in our secondary,” McMichael said.

SINGLETARY’S DOUBLE: Winning a second UPI NFC defensive player of the year wasn’t as exciting as winning the first for Singletary.

“Until we get to the Super Bowl it’s hard for me to get really excited,” he said.

Singletary attributes his motivation to his brother Grady, who died when Singletary was 12.

The last thing Grady told him before dying in a car crash involving a drunk driver was, “No matter what you do, remember to be your best, whatever it is.”

Kevin Lamb also contributed to this notebook.