Four downs with Ditka

BY MIKE DITKA

November 16, 2013 1:42AM

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Updated: December 18, 2013 6:29AM

Do you think Josh McCown’s success in the Marc Trestman offense has lowered Jay Cutler’s contract value or even made him expendable?

No, not at all. Jay’s a starter. He’s a heck of a football player. He’s hurt. You know, it’s very hard to perform when you’re hurt. And he was hurt last week. It didn’t bother him initially, but as the game wore on, you could see it affected him throwing the football. He couldn’t step into the throw. I don’t think it’ll affect his contract. I don’t think that’s what the game plan is by Marc and Phil Emery. I would say if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I think they have a good football player in Jay.

Are you surprised at how quickly Kyle Long has adapted and how well he’s playing? Does he remind you of anyone you coached?

He’s a tough guy who has great bloodlines. He’s one of those guys who refuses to lose, refuses to get beat and has a great attitude about the game. You have to really respect that. I had good guards, no question about it. He probably reminds me a little of [Mark] Bortz, [Tom] Thayer and [Kurt] Becker. Don’t get me wrong, they had skills — and so does Kyle. But they played the game with an attitude, a chip on their shoulder. I think that’s what makes them better.

Is there more trash-talking in the NFL than when you were playing?

Absolutely. Not even close. It’s stupid. Why do you do it? What are you trying to prove? If you’re a tough guy, go out and play the game. Play within the rules. Knock the guy down. Help him up. If you get a chance, knock him down again. That’s the way you play football. You don’t tackle somebody, then stand over him and taunt him. That’s childish and immature. It’s not good for the game, and those people ought to be kicked out of the game. If you don’t respect the game and respect your opponents, the game won’t respect you. This is a very simple situation: Act like you belong; act like you’ve been there. Respect the game, and it will take care of you.

Surely you have some thoughts on Obamacare?

I don’t understand it, but evidently he didn’t, either. I don’t understand a lot of things, but I think it was an admirable idea to have national health care for everybody. But the practicality is, can you do it? Can it work? Can it make sense? I don’t know. You saw what [House Democratic Minority leader Nancy] Pelosi said, ‘‘You really have to pass this bill to know what’s in it.’’ Well, c’mon, man! You ought to read it first to see what’s in it. I understand what they’re trying to do. It’s great to put everybody in that situation where they have health care, but we’re not a socialist nation. It’s hard to do that stuff.

[The government] should create incentives for people to work, to be able to make a living, to be able to get health care. That, to me, is more important than the handout. It’s a great idea, but they have a lot of work to do. It was an accident waiting to happen, and it has happened.

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