Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

ESPN's Ditka suffers minor stroke

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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.

Mendenhall set to play

PITTSBURGH -- Insisting he feels well with no setbacks after a full week of practice, running back Rashard Mendenhall is set to return for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Because of an Achilles injury, Mendenhall has missed all four games of a winning streak that the Steelers (6-3) carry into their Sunday showdown with the Baltimore Ravens (7-2).

He is officially listed as probable.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 17, 2012 C6

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