Weather Updates

Four downs with Ditka

Mike Ditk |  AP photo

Mike Ditka | AP photo

storyidforme: 65771275
tmspicid: 14942856
fileheaderid: 6809067
Article Extras
Story Image

Updated: June 5, 2014 6:34AM

1. When you’re drafting in the first round, do you pick for positional need or best available player?

You have to look at your needs, but I would also hate to turn down any player that I have rated very high just because I don’t have a need for him.

Let me tell you something: If I have a team that doesn’t have any direction or leadership at the quarterback position, then I would pick Johnny Manziel. He has as much talent as anyone in the college game coming out. He reminds me of one guy: Fran Tarkenton. He can make plays and improv. He can do things that other people can’t do. He can make great defenders look average by putting moves on them. So I’m saying if I’m one of those teams in need of a quarterback, I have to look to him.

Look, when we drafted Jim Covert, we needed an offensive tackle. We went out and got the best one on the board. When we drafted [Jim] McMahon, we needed a quarterback. Period. It’s not too complicated.

2. The Bears seem to be assembled as a ‘‘win now’’ team. Does that change your draft approach?

I don’t think so. I think every team in the league has to win now. It’s crazy. If you’re a coach, you don’t have long. You have to win now, or your tenure could be very short. You have to go out and draft the guys that are going to help you on the field to win. Chances are, if you win now, then you will have success the year after if you replenish your talent. The object is to win as soon as you can. If you don’t, you will not be around to see it when the other guy wins.

3. Take us through these last days leading up to the draft. How are the GM, coaches and scouts preparing?

Most everything should be done. They have probably done a few mock drafts already, where they will say: ‘‘If our guy falls to here, we’ll take him. If not, here’s our backup guy.’’ The thing is, people talk themselves out of picks on draft day. I don’t agree with that. They should be pretty set on who they want right now.

The real problem comes in if you have two guys you like, and one is a defensive player and the other is on offense. Then the defensive and offensive coaches start fighting over him. So it really comes down to the general manager and the head coach to decide what’s best for the team moving forward. You have to work together on this and not let egos get in the way. When you do, you have problems.

4. Did the NBA handle the Donald Sterling scandal properly?

I don’t know that there’s a right or wrong way to handle this. It was very straightforward what the commissioner did. It was admirable. It took a lot of guts and courage. He’s a new commissioner, and he stepped up. He made a decision of what’s best for his sport. That’s all you can do.

It’s amazing to me how one man can be that set for life, end up in a position of owning a sports franchise and be that stupid. What he said was during a private conversation. It was taped and then put out there. But I have no sympathy for him. None at all!

It’s a crazy world we live in. But when you lie down with snakes — and evidently he did — then you get bit. That’s all there is to it.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.