CHICAGO -- Former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka said
Wednesday he would not run for the U.S. Senate, leaving Illinois
Republicans still without a replacement candidate less than four
months before the election.
"There was a moment when I said, 'God, I'd like to take this
and run with it', and then I said, 'You know, put your head on
straight and think about what you're getting into,' " the pro
football Hall of Famer said outside his Chicago restaurant.
State Republicans have been scrambling to find a challenger for
Democrat Barack Obama since the winner of the GOP primary,
investment banker-turned-teacher Jack Ryan, dropped out nearly
three weeks ago.
Ryan quit amid allegations in divorce papers that he took his
wife, "Boston Public" television actress Jeri Ryan, to sex clubs
before they split up.
Polls show strong support for Obama, a state senator whose flair
on the stump has helped attract money and a national following.
Wearing a black T-shirt, Ditka made his announcement at a news
conference that drew onlookers who spilled into the street outside
He acknowledged that the sometimes fiery temperament that
prompted him to answer taunting fans with obscenities in the days
when he coached the floundering New Orleans Saints might not be a
perfect fit on Capitol Hill.
"I don't know how I would react on the Senate floor if I got in
a confrontation with somebody I really didn't appreciate or maybe
didn't appreciate me," Ditka said.
He also suggested that what he called his "ultraconservative"
views might clash with many Illinois voters, saying, "I don't want
to talk about gay marriage."
A moment later, he said: "I don't care whether some judge of
the Massachusetts Supreme Court says it's right. It's not right.