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Ditka in Tampa, talks about helping military families

Pro Football Hall of Fame tight end Mike Ditka was in Tampa on Tuesday to talk about how part of $1-million expected to be raised before the Feb. 1 Super Bowl will benefit a charity that helps the families of elite servicemen and women who are wounded or killed in action.

The Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund, which helps injured former NFL players, will benefit the U.S. Special Operations Warrior Foundation, a charity that helps families of Army Green Berets, Navy SEALS and others.

Special Operations is headquartered at Tampa's MacDill Air Force Base.

"I understand that their fight is a different fight than ours, but still it's the same (need)," said Ditka, a former coach of the Bears and Saints. "We have a tendency to forget the people we really count on in our country. We just assume people go to war, they come back and go back to their families and everything is normal. Or they go to war and they don't come back."

"Anytime anyone wants to help us take care of the children of our fallen, I'm all eyes and ears," said John T. Carney Jr., who runs the Warrior Foundation.

Ditka was scheduled to visit Tampa's VA hospital.

"Let's be honest, we don't think about doing those things," he said. "Every once in a while we got to get a reality check and say hey, there's more to life than our own little special needs."

Go to and to learn more.

CONFUSED 49ERS: San Francisco offensive coordinator Mike Martz said he called a failed running play for the fullback on the final play of a 29-24 loss to the Cardinal on Monday because he mistakenly thought the play began closer to the goal line. Frank Gore was marked down near the 1, and Martz radioed in a run up the middle designed for that yardage. But a review moved the ball back to the 2½. Martz said officials never told the 49ers of the change, and the connection between the sideline and the quarterback cut off. "All things considered, if they had moved it back to the 10-yard line, we couldn't have changed the play," Martz said.

BRONCOS: Running back Tatum Bell, released by the Lions on Sept. 2, signed to bolster Denver's injury-riddled backfield.

FALCONS: Receiver/return specialist Adam Jennings was released and defensive end Brandon Miller was signed from the practice squad.

PATRIOTS: The league confirmed it rescinded a $20,000 fine against receiver Randy Moss for comments about officiating.

Ravens: Cornerback Chris McAlister (right knee surgery Monday) and strong safety Dawan Landry (tingling in neck) went on injured reserve, ending their seasons.

Steelers: Running back Willie Parker (knee sprain) will practice today, and coach Mike Tomlin is optimistic Parker will play Sunday against the Chargers.

Ditka in Tampa, talks about helping military families 11/11/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 11, 2008 8:36pm]
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