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Cowboys Facing Chicago On ‘Mike Ditka Day’

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CHICAGO, UNITED STATES:  Soldier Field is reflected in the glasses of New Orleans Saints coach Mike Ditka as he smokes a cigar prior to the game against the Chicago Bears, 22 August, in Chicago, IL. This is Ditka's first appearance back at Soldier Field since he was coach of the Chicago Bears. AFP PHOTO VINCENT LAFORET (Photo credit should read VINCENT LAFORET/AFP/Getty Images)

Soldier Field is reflected in the glasses of Mike Ditka (Photo: VINCENT LAFORET/AFP/Getty Images)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — The Dallas Cowboys won’t be facing legendary tight end Mike Ditka on Monday night in Chicago, but the Hall of Famer will have a heavy presence.

It’s Ditka Day in Illinois.

Gov. Pat Quinn’s office says Monday that he’s declared it “Mike Ditka Day” in honor of the former Chicago Bears player and football coach whose jersey is being retired.

The Hall of Famer’s No. 89 is being retired during a halftime ceremony. Dikta is the 14th Bear to have his number retired by the team.

In a statement, Quinn calls Ditka “the best tight end of all time.” And he says “Da Coach” ”molded and guided arguably the best football team,” referring to the 1985 Super Bowl champs.

Ditka was drafted by the Bears in 1961 and played for the team through 1966. He returned to coach from 1982 until 1992.

The Bears current leader at tight end: former Cowboys TE Martellus Bennett, who has reeled in 48 receptions for 545 yards and five touchdowns.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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