Ditka: Dent deserves HOF selection

Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Mike Ditka said former Chicago Bears great Richard Dent should get the nod Saturday from the Hall's selection committee.

Dent is a finalist for the sixth time in the past seven years. The Super Bowl XX MVP, Dent was a first- or second-team All-Pro defensive end four times and registered 34.5 sacks in the 1984 and '85 seasons.

"I don't know what people think the criteria is anymore," Ditka said. "I know [it shouldn't be] about records, number of catches or yards.

"To me it's how you played the game. Is the game better because you played it? Have you made people around you better on the field? And Richard made a lot of people better the way he played the game for us."

Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana echoed Ditka's sentiments.

"Oh yeah, we saw coach Ditka today and he said it best -- '[Dent is] the kind of guy that's so good, he makes the guys around him better,''' Montana said on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "And you had to worry where he was and where he lined up, and a lot of the times he was the key to their defense, and how they were, who's blitzing and who's coming by how he lined up a lot of times."

Jimbo Covert, who was a two-time All Pro offensive tackle for the Bears, hopes his former teammate gets good news this weekend.

"I think he should have been in years ago, and I think some of the people they put in recently ahead of him are unjustified in my opinion," said Covert, who made the 1980s all-decade team, as voted on by HOF voters. "There's a few people who will say things like he didn't play the run or he was only a pass rusher, I don't know, I played against him every day in practice, and I think he did a hell of a job.

"The Hall of Fame is about people who have excelled and gone above and beyond, and he certainly has done that. I wish him all the luck in the world and hopes he gets in."