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Four downs with Ditka

FILE - In this Sept. 21 2013 file phoNorthwestern quarterback KaColter (2) wears APU for 'All Players United' wrist tape

FILE - In this Sept. 21, 2013 file photo, Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter (2), wears APU for "All Players United" on wrist tape as he scores a touchdown during an NCAA college football game against Maine in Evanston, Ill. The decision to allow Northwestern football players to unionize raises an array of questions for college sports. Among them, state schools vs. public schools, powerhouse programs vs. smaller colleges. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File) ORG XMIT: CER101

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Updated: May 28, 2014 6:42AM



1. What is the single most important quality you look for in a prospective draft pick?

You have to look at the football aspect, for sure, but I think you have to look at the character of the individual. Character means a lot — whether he’s a good guy, his work ethic and so on. We assume that most guys coming out of college and going into pro football have talent. You always look for speed and strength and things like that, but I would put nothing — NOTHING — ahead of character.

2. There’s a lot of talk about college athletes and unions. With coaches getting paid significantly more than university presidents, do you think college sports are out of control? Is it in need of reform?

Football and basketball bring a lot of money to the university. Nothing else brings in that kind of money. That’s how those coaches and presidents can be paid. I disagree with the players’ union. I think it’s the worst thing that could happen. There’s no place for it in football, basketball or anywhere else in college. First of all, when you sign on to go to college, you sign on knowing that they’re going to give you a scholarship that’s worth a heck of a lot of money. Most athletes couldn’t pay their way in, so they are given an athletic scholarship. Some students with academic talent also get scholarships. Now, should the athlete be paid more because they don’t eat right? I don’t know. Get a job in the summer. That’s what I did. I saved that money and used it when I was in college. So, did I ever have to go hungry? Never. I think it’s a travesty what’s going on, but then again, I’m old-school.

3. If you were growing up today and could play any professional sport, which would it be?

I have no regrets about what I did. I was fortunate to be able to play football and have a great career. But today, I would play golf. You have less chance of injury, a better chance at a scholarship, and it’s something you can play your whole life. That’s why I enjoy it so much now.

4. Wrigley Field turned 100 this week. What is your most memorable moment there?

The 1963 Championship Game when we beat the Giants 14-10. I caught four touchdowns in a game there, too, but that doesn’t matter.

Outside of football, I enjoyed it when the Cubs had Ernie [Banks], Ron [Santo] and Fergie [Jenkins]. But it doesn’t seem like it’s been the same there for a long, long time. They find ways to beat themselves now, so when you do that, you’re not very good.



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