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23.09.2018 16:52
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It was Mike Ditka who made it happen, who put aside the wisecracks and snide cracks and thawed a feud with Buddy Ryan that Ryan said he never knew existed.But it was Ryan who allowed it to happen, who returned Ditkas bear hug when the coaches and players got together on the occasion of the 1985 Super Bowl champions 25th anniversary in 2010.They were both in their 70s by then, Ryan nearly 80, and the creative, and ... OK, personal ... differences that were revealed most graphically when the 85 Bears defense carried Ryan off the field following their Super Bowl XX rout, just didnt seem worth it anymore.It took me a long time to get smarter and understand things, Ditka said that day the two reunited to promote the reunion, a glorified storytelling session for fans. Youre headstrong when youre young and maybe I was, but Ill tell you what, I certainly have grown to understand and appreciate what these guys meant and what this coach meant, because his players related to him on defense like Ive never seen before or since.They did love Ryan, who died Tuesday.Bears Hall of Fame defensive lineman Dan Hampton told the story Tuesday of Ryan, who in 1993 as the defensive coordinator for the Houston Oilers, punched the teams offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride on the sideline during a game.Everyone goes Buddys crazy taking a swing at one of his own coaches, and no one knew what it was about, and it was so indicative of him as a leader, Hampton said.The Oilers were playing the Jets in their 16th game of the season, a meaningless game, where the whole point was to get the damn game over and run the ball, Hampton said. But Gilbride kept calling a bunch of pass plays and Buddy was like, Are you nuts? He had a bunch of guys who were beat up and he kept sending them back out onto the field and he couldnt take it.Thats why players loved Buddy. Thats why his players loved him. Thats why so many times in so many ways, it would manifest itself in a way that we knew Buddy loved us and would go to war for us.So loyal were they to their old defensive coordinator that years later, when Dave Duerson accused Ryan of using a racial epithet toward him during his playing career, every defensive player, black and white, said it simply never happened.Mike Singletary, one of Duersons closest friends on the team, said everyone had to learn how to handle Ryans trials in their own way.Buddy didnt like any rookies that came in, but Dave had to lick his wounds, Singletary said following Duersons suicide in 2011. Duerson was diagnosed with CTE. He took it a little more personal than most of us, but I really think Buddy was just trying to help Dave be the best he could be, and there was nothing personal by it.Both Duerson and Ryan said when they saw each other in later years, there was always a handshake and often a hug.Most rookies thought I didnt like them because I was on them all the time to hurry their progress, Ryan said. But we got along. He was a normal rookie that way. And I was proud he made the Pro Bowl. That was great.Of course, it wasnt as if Ryan ever mellowed completely.Trying to be nice when talking about Ditka at the reunion, he still couldnt resist getting in a few digs.I thought he made a great speech, which I didnt do, Ryan said of his first impressions of Ditka, drawing laughter. I went to some affairs when he first got here and he spoke and he did a hell of a job. And its still going on with TV. His Viagra commercials are great.But he was always humble when it came to his players. And Ditka remembered a loyalty Ryan demonstrated that he said was incomparable.Buddy stayed the course, Ditka said in 2014. He knew what he wanted to do and he did it and he wouldnt let anyone deter him from what he thought was right for the Bears or for his players; me, ownership anybody. And he stuck up for his players better than anybody around. Sometimes maybe I had a little shortcoming in that area but he never ever failed to stick up for his players on the defensive side of the ball. They were No. 1 and they should have been. I had great people around me everywhere I went, Ryan said. I didnt realize it at the time, I thought it was all me. We had a lot of leaders on that [85] team and I got credit for a lot of things Dan Hampton and those guys did.For the past 10 years, Hampton has gone to visit Ryan at his Kentucky farm with former teammate Gary Fencik. In late May, they visited with another teammate, Lenny Walterscheid.There is great resolution with a lot of things, Hampton said. You dont know how youre going to feel until something like this happens, but I know hes in a better place. We walked out of Buddys house knowing we probably wouldnt see him again but it was such a joyous time. He couldnt talk, but you could tell how happy he was that we were there. There was a peace and contentment.Fencik brought the 81 letter the Bear defense wrote to owner George Halas all but demanding that Ryan be retained after then-coach Neill Armstrong was fired.He read it and he told Buddy We bailed your ass out, and he was laughing, joyous, Hampton recalled. I cant tell you how happy I was that we were able to see him again and give him a final farewell. . The Montreal Canadiens announced on Friday that the veteran forward will return to the teams line-up on Saturday night when the Habs visit the Nashville Predators. . Bradwell was scheduled to become a free agent Tuesday. Born and raised in Toronto, Bradwell is entering his sixth CFL season, with all six played for his hometown Argonauts. . Already owning gold from competition in Vancouver in 2010, Loch posted a combined four-run time of 3:27.526. That included a track-record third run of 51. . Kuznetsov, who was selected by the Capitals in the first round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, has been playing for his hometown team Chelyabinsk Traktor of the KHL. . It is a cliché dragged out by fans and pundits regularly when discussions take place around which teams are better than others. Mumbai -- Indias star boxer Vijender Singh has said that he does not feel any additional pressure before his first home professional bout against Australias Kerry Hope for the WBO Asia Pacific super middleweight title. Vijender, who won a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, believes he only has a sense of responsibility for the future of the sport in the country.I think, there is no pressure (but) more responsibility because this fight will decide what is the future of pro boxing in India. People are excited and would be coming to see (the fight), Vijender said.Of course I will have to give (my) 100%, I have to win the fight, thats (an) important part, but there is no pressure, (only) responsibility is there, fulfill it and take the title.Vijender, who had won his first six professional fights inside the distance, is up against an opponent who brings with him the experience of 30 bouts, winning 23, including two by knockouts.?Exuding confidence ahead of the title fight against Hope, Vijender said, He is a southpaw (left-hander) and I know him and he is a very experienced guy. I spoke to (my) coach.dddddddddddd We will take him, its not that difficult, dont worry. I dont want to say anything before the fight, pass any comment or any bad thing about him, like I am going to destroy him.But I know, he has experience, I know that his record is 35 or something, but it is a record right now. But I have an Olympic medal. I have got an Olympic medal, I did get (medals) in the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games. I can do that and I know that.?The Welsh-born Hope, who emigrated to Australia, was also a WBC middleweight champion and has moved a division up to super middleweight to take on Vijender.On fighting for the belt for the first time, Vijender said, After this I will come in the league, my ranking will be 15 in the world and then its going to be like going for the world title fight -- slowly, may be next year or after that.I will go to the Rio Olympics (to support other Indian boxers), after this fight. I will go and just watch the fight in Rio. 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