A former Bears great thinks it’s going to be a long year for the team.
“They’re going to be young, baby, so there’s going to be some suffering,” McMichael said with his thick Texas drawl. “There’s going to be mistakes all over the goddamn field, that’s what playing a young guy costs you. The ball is snapped, the play has started and they’re just standing there.”
McMichael knows what it takes to go from a young team to a great team. The Bears weren’t any good early in his career before they became one of the biggest icons of the ’80s.
McMichael, of course, remembers his time with the Bears fondly saying “Chicago and Mike Ditka is where Mongo was supposed to play, yes baby.”
During an interview to promote a charity wrestling event he is attending to help raise funds for the Gilbert Brown Foundation, McMichael spoke at length about his life in football. He noted his success in high school as a middle linebacker, tight end and kicker, earning all-state honors at all three positions.
After a brief stint in New England, in which McMichael said he “whopped” John Hannah’s ass in practice, he came to the Bears and the rest is history.
After 13 years with the Bears, the team released him, hoping to sign him for less money but, feeling insulted, McMichael went to Green Bay instead. He finished out his career, meeting Gilbert Brown and on Aug. 4 will be meeting fans as a fundraiser for the Gilbert Brown Foundation in Galesville, Wis.
McMichael finished his career with 95 sacks, behind only John Randle and Warren Sapp in terms of sacks by an interior player. Yet, McMichael hasn’t sniffed the Hall of Fame.
“One of these days they’re going to wake up and realize somebody who made that many plays should be in,” McMichael said before noting it took him 30 years to make the College Football Hall of Fame.
McMichael touched on a variety of topics.
• On Jay Cutler: “Boy, Cutler needed me and Hampton in that locker room. When you’re not a leader, you need to be led and nobody led him. He was more talented than McMahon, he just knew with the defense he had that he had to take chances and that’s going to come back to bite you in the ass. With our defense, you don’t make a mistake or you beat yourself.”
• On the difference between a winning locker room and a losing locker room: “If you ever saw a grass snake and thought it was a rattle snake, the first time you saw a rattle snake, you knew the difference.”
• Best player he played with: Dan Hampton, but Reggie White was the most dominant end he ever saw.
• On CTE: “What I told Bear Bryant coming out of high school when he wanted to make me al All American tight end is I’ve been the hitter and the hitter and I want to be the hitter from now on. That’s how I saved myself from brain damage.”
• Favorite QB to sack: “Joe Montana,” without hesitation. Before saying that Montana would take a sack on first down then throw a 20-yard pass to Jerry Rice on second-and-17.
• Regrets: “I had 2 1/2 years left to get my dental degree at the University of Texas. But then I’d have my hands in somebody’s dirty mouth every day instead of just on Sundays.”
• On Jim McMahon’s reckless style: “If that pussy Deion Sanders could make business decisions and be in the Hall of Fame, McMahon should’ve been able to.”