11/16/2012 10:54 pm ET Updated Nov 16, 2012

Mike Ditka Suffers Stroke: REPORTS

Legendary Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka has suffered a minor stroke, according to various reports.

Ditka was hospitalized after experiencing difficulty speaking and while playing cards with friends on Friday, according to

"I feel good right now and it's not a big deal," Ditka told Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune and National Football Post.

ESPN NFL producer Seth Markman tweeted about Ditka's status, noting he would not be participating in the network's coverage this weekend. ESPN publicist Mike Humes also reported the stroke via Twitter.

An accomplished NFL player, coach and analyst, Ditka was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1988. The reports of his stroke elicited an outpouring of support on Twitter.

Reactions To Mike Ditka Stroke


CHICAGO — Hall of Famer Mike Ditka has had a minor stroke, an ESPN producer said.

ESPN's Seth Markman posted on Twitter that the former Chicago Bears coach and player fell ill Friday and will not appear on the network's NFL shows this weekend.

Markman wrote that Ditka "wanted everyone to know he's ok."

Ditka did not immediately return a message from The Associated Press.

He told the Chicago Tribune he was feeling "good right now and it's not a big deal." He was playing cards at a suburban country club Friday when he noticed his hands "weren't working quite right," and he then started having difficulty speaking.

The 73-year-old Ditka had a heart attack during the 1988 season when he was coaching the Bears.

The stroke came on the same day that a Lake County prosecutor said in court that Ditka's son, Mark E. Ditka, tested positive for opiates during a pretrial screening earlier this month, according to the Tribune. The younger Ditka is awaiting trial on his fourth DUI charge.