Coach Mike Ditka apparently was so pleased with the play of the Chicago Bears in their 17-0 victory over the Seattle Seahawks that he refused yesterday to be drawn into any controversy involving former San Francisco 49ers coach Bill Walsh.
Walsh, a color commentator for NBC Sports, said during Sunday's game that defensive tackle Dan Hampton, playing again after his 10th knee operation, should not be playing, declaring: "Every bit of cartilage is gone. He has arthritis. What will he be doing in 20 years? He's going to be in a wheelchair unless something's done."
Ditka said: "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Sometimes I don't think before I talk. I don't know what was said. It's not my place or Dan's mother's place to tell Dan what to do. It's up to Dan. No matter what I'd tell Dan, he'd do what's in his heart. I have nothing against Bill. I just don't agree with him. I was pretty impressed with Dan Hampton."
Hampton said: "I don't have any doubts about what I can do this year. You know Bill, he's got an awful high opinion of what he is and what he does. It looks like the 49ers really missed him a lot, so what can you say?"
Walsh coached the 49ers to three Super Bowl titles, but they also won it last year without him.
*LIONS: Coach Wayne Fontes said Rodney Peete still is his starting quarterback despite his unimpressive effort in Sunday's 38-21 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"There is no quarterback controversy in this organization," Fontes said. "Rodney Peete will start Sunday against Atlanta, Bob Gagliano will be his backup and Andre Ware will be in the bullpen.
*STEELERS: Quarterback Bubby Brister ripped offensive coordinator Joe Walton's short-pass-oriented system, which managed only 46 rushing yards and 210 total yards in Sunday's 13-3 loss to the Cleveland Browns. Brister also was upset with Walton's system of using reserves as messengers to bring in plays.
"It's wild, ain't it?" Brister said. "We came so far and now we're so far back. There's no reason why we shouldn't get the ball to [Louis] Lipps and Derek [Hill] and [Mike] Mularkey and [Tim] Worley and Merril [Hoge] all the time. They're our five best players."
*EAGLES: Rookie wide receiver Calvin Williams, a former Dunbar High star, did not have a good outing against the New York Giants on Sunday. Williams caught two passes, but could not get deep against New York's double zones. Worse, he muffed two consecutive punts from Sean Landeta in the second quarter.
"I had the jitters a little, but that's no excuse," Williams said. "I just wasn't looking the ball into my hands. I don't know if it's first-game stuff or what, but I just have to concentrate better. If I'm going to play in this league, I've got to catch the damn ball."
*COLTS: Quarterback Jeff George had a headache and a stiff neck as a reminder of linebacker Cornelius Bennett's hit that forced George out of the game in the fourth quarter in Sunday's 26-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills. The quarterback banged the back of his head against the artificial turf when sacked.
"I just got a headache, it comes with the territory," said George. "Whenever you play a defense like Buffalo, it's always going to cause some problems. I was more upset that we were still in the game at that time and I had to come out."
*CARDINALS: Defensive tackle Bob Clasby, who missed the final 12 games last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, suffered an injury to his right knee in the first half of Sunday's 31-0 loss to the Washington Redskins, and will undergo arthroscopic surgery today for damaged ligaments. He may be out four weeks.
"Even if he's out a week, it's a loss," head coach Joe Bugel said. "He's an intregal part of our defense."