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Around the NFL: Ditka Has a Stroke, Referee Curses, and Ejected Fan Found Dead

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By Danny Cox

Friday was just a huge day full of news around the NFL, and none of it really had a lot to actually do with any players or coaches. All of those in the news were or are involved with football in one way or another, but none of it is really all that good.

1 Nov 1998:  Coach Mike Ditka of the New Orleans Saints looking on during the game against the Carolina Panthers at the Ericsson Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Panthers defeated the Saints 31-17. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Laforet  /Allsport

(Credit= Vincent Laforet/Allsport)

First of all there is ESPN NFL analyst and former NFL head coach Mike Ditka who suffered a minor stroke on Friday. Ditka was in a suburban country club in Chicago playing cards when he suffered the stroke and was brought to the hospital.

ESPN senior coordinating producer Seth Markman tweeted that Ditka “wanted everyone to know he’s OK.”

The 73-year old former head coach of the Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints will not be at work this weekend for ESPN, but he does expect to return to Bristol soon. He was contracted on Friday evening and Ditka said he was feeling “good right now and it’s not a big deal.”

Next up in the Friday NFL news is referee Tony Corrente who was fined one entire game check by the NFL for uttering some obscenities with his microphone. The infractions came during a Nov. 4, 2012 game between the Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins.

With Corrente’s 18 years of experience, he earns approximately $9,000 a game so that is a mighty hefty fine that was handed down.

During the fourth quarter of the game, Corrente accidentally left his microphone open during a conference with other members of the officiating crew. While talking, Corrente said some obscenities that were heard by the crowd in attendance as well as the CBS television audience.

It was obviously unintentional, but something that still happened and could have been avoided.

Corrente has since apologized to the Colts organization for the incident. NFL officiating director Carl Johnson is the one that issued the fine on Friday to Corrente. Johnson said that Corrente’s conduct “is inappropriate for a game official.”

Last up is some sad news as a fan that was ejected at halftime of Thursday night’s game between the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills was found dead on Friday morning.

The fan, identified as 26-year-old David Gerken of Palmyra, New York, was found on Friday morning in a small creek near Ralph Wilson Stadium. He was reported missing by his brother when he didn’t show up for their already arranged meeting at a certain place after the game.

Gerken’s ejection from the game happened due to his being intoxicated per multiple reports.

A group of officials and searchers went out looking for Gerken, but quickly were able to pint his cell phone. The information that came back was able to pinpoint exactly where he was located and they then found the body.

The Buffalo Bills released a statement regarding Gerken’s untimely death:

“We are deeply saddened to hear of this news this morning. While the loss of life is always tragic, the loss of a young life is even more so. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family. We are currently cooperating with law enforcement officials to find out the details of this unfortunate incident.”

For more Local Football Bloggers and the latest NFL news, see CBS Sports Las Vegas.

Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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