This week's word from Mike Ditka
When Mike Ditka, coach of the Chicago Bears, let his players off early on Halloween, he was asked how he would dress for a Halloween party.
"I would come as a TV reporter," Ditka said. "I would have to get some dumb questions ready."
Would he buy one from Bob Irsay?
Johnie Cooks, who was cut by the Indianapolis Colts and signed with the New York Giants, will play against his old team tomorrow night for the first time, and he still hasn't forgiven coach Ron Meyer for shipping him out.
"I wouldn't buy a used car from him," Cooks said.
He let his fingers do the walking
When the Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal conducted a telephone poll asking readers who should be the Cleveland Browns quarterback, Mike Pagel got 704 votes and Bernie Kosar got 94.
Pagel said, "I'm sure glad I got through 702 times, and I appreciate the other two people calling, whoever they are."
Mark Carrier, meet Mark Carrier Wide receiver Mark Carrier, a four-year veteran of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will play against rookie safety Mark Carrier of the Bears today.
The Carriers are distant cousins, both born in Louisiana, but they never have met. The Tampa Carrier played at Nicholls State and the Chicago Carrier at Southern California.
He's not holding a real estate seminar
Jack Pardee, coach of the Houston Oilers, will direct his team today against the Los Angeles Rams, a club he spent 13 years with before finishing his playing career in Washington.
"I was a bachelor when I went out there [in 1957], and I had five kids when I left," Pardee said. "By the time we were through buying and selling houses, I was probably the only guy who ever lost money in real estate in California."
Los Angeles Rams coach John Robinson is having second thoughts about comparing Marcus Dupree, who has been put on the Rams' practice squad, to "The Natural."
"To make this comeback work, we can't look at it as a miracle," Robinson said. "I wish I hadn't used the line, 'It's like "The Natural." ' It isn't. Robert Redford hit a home run as soon as they put him in the game. We know it isn't going to be like that."
Robinson then concluded, "But it might."
The Marino record book
Dan Marino starts his 100th consecutive NFL game today as the quarterback for the Miami Dolphins, but the NFL won't count the streak in its record books because he didn't play in the three strike games in 1987.
"Who cares if they recognize it? I recognize it. I don't count those strike games," he said.
The second-longest streak among active quarterbacks is 53 by Randall Cunningham of the Philadelphia Eagles.