The 1975 draft that brought the Bears Walter Payton also brought them a defensive end, Mike Hartenstine, from Penn State. The rookie was struggling a bit, but there was a veteran more than willing to help.
Buffone would retire in 1979. But before that, “Douggie taught me so much,” Hartenstine told CSNChicago.com. “I would hear him on the radio sometimes, saying that I helped him stay on (in the NFL).
[MORE BEARS: Mike Ditka on Doug Buffone: 'I loved him']
“But he really helped me. I was pretty good at ‘two-gapping’ (as a defensive lineman) and keeping guys off Doug, and he knew where I would be going where I had to go. I think we didn’t give up two yards a run to our side; more like 1.6 yards or something like that.”
But “Douggie” put a hit on more than the opponent.
“I remember that he knocked me out in the Astrodome against Houston,” Hartenstine recalled. “He was swinging around the quarterback and kicked me in the head. I was out. I was knocked out only twice in my career, and that was a pretty good one.”
All of the good graces Bill Belichick may have won on Tuesday afternoon -- when he compared the Bears' offense to Kansas City's -- are officially gone.
Today, when talking to reporters, a Khalil Mack-Lawrence Taylor comparison came up. Belichick, who coached LT as the New York Giants’ defensive coordinator in the 1980s, was NOT having it:
"Wait a minute, we’re talking about Lawrence Taylor now. I’m not putting anybody in (LT’s) class. Put everybody down below that. With a lot of respect to a lot of good players, we’re talking about Lawrence Taylor."
A bit harsh, Bill.
For what it's worth, here's Khalil Mack's 2018 projection, assuming his latest ankle injury doesn't make him miss time:
20 sacks, four interceptions, 16 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries
That's .5 sacks less and four INTS, 16 FFs and 4 recoveries more than LT had in his 1986 MVP season. And yeah, maybe "they didn't record tackles/fumbles in 1986" and "16 forced fumbles would not only blow the current record (10) out of the water but is just plain unrealistic" but whatever, we're just sayin'.
UPDATE: shocker, LT agrees:
The Bears have seemingly dodged a bullet, for now.
Following Tuesday's announcement that Khalil Mack would undergo further tests on the right ankle injury he sustained during Sunday's loss, Bears head coach had more optimistic news on Wednesday:
It could obviously get a lot worse than a day-to-day diagnosis, though not practicing on Wednesday might raise some eyebrows.
It sounds like Mack is expected to be a go for Sunday's matchup with the Patriots, though as the Bears saw with the Dolphins' QB situation last week, things can change in a heartbeat.