Ditka believes in Brandon Marshall

Updated: October 17, 2012, 4:19 PM ET
ESPNChicago.com

Brandon Marshall has started his Bears career with a record-setting pace on the field, and Mike Ditka believes his stature off it could be just as big in Chicago.

"He came into (Ditka's restaurant) at the beginning of the season, and I talked to him a little bit," Ditka said Wednesday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "I told him, I said 'Brandon, you can own this town. This town is ripe for someone like you.'

"I think being a successful Bears player in this town, it worked for me. It will work for him."

Marshall said Tuesday that he appreciated the support he received from the legendary coach and Hall of Fame tight end during their first meeting and plans to continue to "pick his brain."

"He just told me it's a great opportunity here for me," Marshall said Tuesday on "Waddle & Silvy" of his meeting with Ditka. "There's a lot of things I can do on and off the field, especially with the foundation we're trying to establish in the community, and just take advantage of it. Coach Ditka has been support for me. I think in the next week or so we're going to sit down with him and his wife and have dinner.

"I'm going to pick his brain every chance. Coach Ditka, he's a pro's pro. He's one of those guys that you really need to pay attention to when you're around him."

Marshall, acquired in a March trade from the Miami Dolphins, has lived up to the high expectations of a Bears fan base that has never had a true No. 1 receiver. With 35 receptions and 496 yards receiving in five games, Marshall is on pace for season totals of 112 catches and 1,581 yards, both franchise records.

His 12 catches against the Jaguars marked the most since Marty Booker's 12-grab game on Oct. 7, 2002, against the Green Bay Packers.

"He's a unique athlete with a great opportunity," Ditka said. "This is a pretty good town to play football in, especially if you're playing on a football team that's good and can win. This is a Bears town, guys, no matter how you want to cut it. They're going to show up, and they're going to pull for the Bears and root for the Bears, and that's how it should be.

"This kid's got a great opportunity here. I like what's going on right now, I really do."