Published: Oct 14, 2004

TAMPA - Mike Ditka has some advice for Bucs holdout Keenan McCardell: Dump your agent and show up at One Buc Place ready to play.
McCardell, who flew into Tampa unannounced Monday to discuss the impasse with Coach Jon Gruden, has two years remaining on his contract.

He is slated to make $2.5 million this season and $2.75 million in 2005.

``I say to Keenan if you can find another job that will pay you $2.5 million, take it,'' Ditka said Wednesday during a Tampa stop to promote a national men's health education campaign. ``Keenan McCardell is a good football player, but like Keyshawn Johnson, there's a lot of 'em out there.

``He'll probably catch on somewhere else. Will he make any more money? No.''

When Ditka coached the Bears, the Hall of Fame tight end faced a pair of malcontents on the brink of Chicago's 1985 championship season.

``We had linebacker Al Harris and safety Todd Bell holding out,'' Ditka said, ``and we never looked back. They missed our Super Bowl year because of their agents.''

As a player, Ditka negotiated directly with Chicago owner George Halas without a representative.

``You think that was easy?'' he said. ``My attitude toward holdouts is don't be too greedy. There's enough pie to go around for everyone.''

Ira Kaufman