Against all logic and reason, the Chicago Bears are still alive for a postseason berth. Although the Bears would lose the tiebreaker with the Detroit Lions, they are tied with the Lions atop the NFC North Division with a record of 7-6 and have a legitimate chance to sneak ahead of Detroit and claim the division, which is likely their only means of getting to the playoffs. But whom will the Bears turn to at quarterback to take them to the playoffs? When Jay Cutler is pronounced healthy, which could happen any day now, Chicago will have to make a choice between going back to him or staying with Josh McCown, who has been a more than adequate fill in for Cutler. Head coach Marc Trestman and the team’s leaders insist that it will be Cutler’s job when he’s ready, but is the decision really that easy?
McCown has given the Bears so much more than they could have expected from a backup, especially one that didn’t throw a single pass all last season. He has thrown 13 touchdowns and just one interception this season, while totaling over 1,800 yards in five starts and two relief appearances. In games that McCown has started, the Bears are 3-2, which has kept Chicago in contention by taking care of the football and getting the ball in the hands of Chicago’s talented cast of playmakers. Despite an unreliable defense, the Bears have a good thing going on the offensive side of the ball, so why make a change if they don’t have to?
Although McCown has been a great backup, he’s just that: a backup. There’s something to be said about going with the hot hand at quarterback, and McCown could fit that description right now, but he’s nowhere near as talented as Cutler. How long do the Bears want to push things with an aging backup? Moreover, McCown does not have the arm strength that Cutler has, and with weather becoming a factor in most NFL games, especially in the windy city, McCown would be more limited than Cutler in less than ideal weather conditions.
Not only is Cutler a more talented quarterback and better suited for imperfect weather conditions, but he could be a part of their future plans, while the 34-year old McCown shouldn’t be considered as a possible starter beyond this season. The new coaching staff hasn’t had a full season to evaluate Cutler because of his injuries, so even if the team doesn’t make the playoffs, playing Cutler down the stretch would be the smart move for the organization in the long run, as they need to decide whether or not they’d like to re-sign him after the season.
Of course, an argument can be made that the short term is more important, and that Cutler has a long enough track record to make a decision on without playing him in the final weeks of the season. Cutler is bound have plenty of rust to shake off after not playing a full game in more than two months, and that could hinder Chicago’s chances of making the playoffs, especially since they have little margin for error. Putting a rusty Cutler back on the field for the most pivotal games of the season could be asking for trouble, especially considering the issues he’s had in the past with turnovers, which is something that hasn’t been an issue with McCown as the starter.
With strong arguments that can be made for both quarterbacks, what’s the best choice for the Bears? It’s Cutler; if he’s healthy, he should play. McCown has done well to hold down the fort, and by doing so he’s played his role on the team perfectly, but Cutler should be the one playing with the season on the line. It’s a high risk-high reward scenario for the Bears, and taking a chance on a rusty Cutler that hasn’t been on the field much over the past two months is a risk Chicago needs to take to give themselves a shot at the playoffs. McCown has taken the Bears as far as he can and given them a shot, but if Cutler is healthy and available, it’s his job to taken them to the playoffs, and he needs to be given the chance to do that.
The Cowboys playing the Bears isn’t the most glamorous game on the week 14 schedule, as both teams have their issues. But with the game having serious playoff implications for both teams, it requires a closer look.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Few teams in the NFL need a win as badly as the Chicago Bears need a win. Chicago has lost two in a row on the road, and three of their last four, as their once promising playoff hopes have grown increasingly bleak. Last week’s overtime loss to Minnesota was like a dagger to their playoff hopes, as a wildcard spot is unlikely, which means they’ll have to win the NFC North in order to get to the postseason. Detroit lost on Sunday, and that opens the door for the Bears to make up some ground, which is essential considering the Lions own the tiebreaker between the two teams. As for the Cowboys, they have some hope to snag the second wildcard spot, but their main focus right now is beating out the Philadelphia Eagles for the NFC East title. The Eagles won in a snowstorm on Sunday, so the Cowboys need to keep pace, even though the division could be decided when the two teams meet in week 17.
DALLAS OFFENSE VS. CHICAGO DEFENSE
Dallas has won their last two games, in part because they’ve made a commitment to running the ball, and have actually done so effectively. Any kind of consistent production from the running game takes pressure off Tony Romo and can make him all the more dangerous, considering the weapons he has at his disposal in the passing game. Chicago has the worst rush defense in the NFL, so as long as the Cowboys make it a point to run the ball, they should have success moving the ball on the ground, which should set up Dallas to use play-action and put a lot of pressure on the Chicago secondary. Unless the Bears can put pressure on Romo with their pass rush and force him into making mistakes, they could have trouble stopping the Dallas offense on a consistent basis.
CHICAGO OFFENSE VS. DALLAS DEFENSE
Josh McCown has done a fine job of filling in for Jay Cutler, but it hasn’t translated into wins for the Bears. Even with McCown, Chicago has one of the top passing attacks in the league with Brandon Marshall and the emergence of Alshon Jeffery, and they’ve received consistent production in the running game from Matt Forte, so the Bears should have success moving the ball and scoring points against a Dallas defense that’s ranked among the worst in the NFL. The Cowboys continue to deal with injuries to key defensive players, which should make it even more difficult for them to stop the Chicago offense, which has a handful of capable skill players that can take advantage of a porous secondary, especially if the Cowboys can’t put consistent pressure on McCown with their pass rush.
With both defenses being below average and both offenses having a wealth of skill players, it’s safe to assume that plenty of points will be scored in this game, and that both teams will have a chance to win in the 4th quarter, even if they face a double-digit deficit, as points could be scored in bunches and in a short period of time. The Bears will have the home-field advantage, as well as more of a sense of urgency to win, but they are struggling to win games, while the Cowboys have played better in recent weeks, showcasing more balance on offense. The Bears need this game more, but the Cowboys are the better team: Dallas 27, Chicago 20.
Week 9 concludes with a division matchup of old and bitter rivals on Monday night, and with plenty to be gained and lost in the game, lets’ take a closer look at the Packers and Bears.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
At stake in this game is first place in the NFC North. With a win, the Packers can remain atop the division, while a win by the Bears would mean a three-way tie for first place along with the Lions. The Bears probably need this game a little more after losing three of their last four games, and while they have a fairly manageable schedule the rest of the season, falling to 4-4 will make it hard for them to win the division and give them an uphill battle in the wildcard race. Meanwhile, the Packers want to keep up the momentum they’ve built during their current four-game winning streak, while maintaining their lead in the division, with both the Bears and Lions close behind.
CHICAGO OFFENSE VS. GREEN BAY DEFENSE
The Bears have had a well-balanced offense that’s had no trouble scoring points all season long, but with Jay Cutler out of the lineup, things may not run as smoothly. Josh McCown played well in relief of Cutler two weeks ago, but that was against Washington’s defense, and Green Bay’s defense will be a big step up in competition. The Bears will have to establish their running game in order to take some pressure off McCown. If they can do that, McCown should be competent enough to get the ball to Chicago’s talented receiving corps of Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, and Martellus Bennett. However, the Packers have been great at stopping the run this season, as they are huge across the defensive line, and McCown could struggle if Chiago becomes one dimensional. The x-factor in this matchup could be the health of the Packer’s linebackers, as Clay Matthews is expected to miss the game, while a couple other guys are banged up. If Green Bay’s linebackers struggle it’ll be easier for the Bears to run the ball, and tougher for the Packers to bother with McCown with their pass rush, which would make it easier for the Bears to replace Cutler without skipping a beat.
GREEN BAY OFFENSE VS. CHICAGO DEFENSE
Aaron Rodgers appears largely unaffected by the loss of several key skill players, as he’s still throwing for roughly 300 yards per game, and consistent production from rookie Eddie Lacy has made things easier for him, as the Packers have a more balanced offense than in year’s past. Jordy Nelson is also stepping his game up with so many injuries around him, as he’s gone for over 100 yards receiving in two of the last three weeks. The Chicago defense has been dreadful for most of the season, and even against a depleted Green bay offense, they should have their hands full. The Bears have the fewest sacks this year of any defense in the NFL, and being unable to put pressure on the quarterback can be troublesome against a quarterback like Rodgers. However, the Chicago defense has been good at forcing turnovers, and that could be their only hope against the Green Bay offense. Without forcing a couple turnovers, it could be a long night for the Chicago defense.
The Bears have had two weeks to prepare for this game, and they need to win a little more than the Packers do, but unless they’ve made monumental strides on the defensive side of the ball, it’s hard to imagine them beating the Packers at Lambeau Field. With plenty of preparation and good players around him McCown will be fine, but he won’t outplay Rodgers, and the Chicago defense won’t provide much support. Green Bay 38, Chicago 21.
Louisiana State head football coach Les Miles has been called the Mad Hatter. Alabama’s Nick Saban has been compared to the devil. Now, Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman has been likened to Willy Wonka by his start tight end, Martellus Bennett.
"I think me and Coach Trestman are probably the only two people who understand each other," Bennett said on ESPN 1000's The Jay Cutler Show Tuesday. "I always say Coach Trestman reminds me of the first Willy Wonka. Not the Johnny Depp one. The Johnny Depp one was really cool, but the first one before that, the 1943 version."
The adaptation of the Roald Dahl book Bennett referred to is the 1971 film "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" starring Gene Wilder. Depp starred in another adaptation of the movie in 2005.
"He's a genius," Bennett said of Trestman. "A lot of times when you're around really, really smart people, you don't really understand them. I thought Willy Wonka was brilliant. He had all kinds of candy. Who doesn't like chocolate and candies? Everybody wanted a Gobstopper. I just think he's brilliant."
Trestman, who’s in his first year of coaching the Bears after a stint in the CFL, wasn’t immediately familiar with the movie, offered a lukewarm response to the characterization but expressed his appreciation for all Bennett brings to the team.
“That's just Martellus being Martellus, right? I'm just happy he's here. He's been just a joy to work with. He's been great in our locker room. He loves football and he wants to get better every day, and who could ask for more?" said Trestman.
Through two games, Bennett, who played with the New York Giants last season, has caught 10 passes for 125 yards and three touchdowns, which ties him for the most among NFL tight ends and is the second-most touchdown receptions in the league.
Trestman had been an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in the NFL from 1985-2004. After serving as the offensive coordinator for North Carolina State from 2006-06, Trestman became the head coach of the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes.
Former Chicago Bear and current Fox Sports 1 NFL analyst Brian Urlacher admitted that his former team routinely faked injuries to stop high-powered, fast-paced offenses from staying in a groove.
"We had a guy who was the designated dive guy," Urlacher said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Urlacher explained that a Bears coach would make a diving motion a swimmer makes with his arms, and the player designated as the dive guy "would get hurt."
Urlacher said while the team wasn't coached on how to fake injuries, the practice was part of the Bears' game plan. He also asserted that many other teams in the NFL in NCAA college football do the same.
In fact, the Bears’ amateur neighbor to the north, the Northwestern University Wildcats, have recently been accused by some of faking injuries during their season opening win against the California Golden Bears in Berkeley last Saturday.
The Wildcats, who play in the Chicago suburb of Evanston and have branded themselves as “Chicago’s Big Ten Team”, saw several players go down to the ground with apparent injuries in the second half, a process that automatically stops the clock as soon as the player is attended to, which inherently slowed down Cal’s up-tempo offense. Cal head coach Sonny Dykes was visibly annoyed on the sidelines, and while the stalling wasn’t a game-changing factor, many Cal fans expressed outrage on Internet forums and social media following the 44-30 Northwestern victory.
When asked about the injuries, Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald said, “If anybody were to question the integrity of myself, our program or our players, I question theirs," and then he explained how he tells injured players to go down and wait for help instead of rushing to the sidelines at the risk of further injury.
“Our guys get dinged up. They get dinged up, they’re instructed to go down. You’ve never walked in and heard me say that ever, have you? I have a hard time with that. But if our guys get dinged up, they’re instructed to go down not hobble of to the sideline,” he said.
The 2012 Chicago Bears pulled off an impressive feat of incompetence, becoming the 3rd team in NFL history to miss the playoffs despite a 7-1 start. When futility-related records are set, heads will roll, and the Bears underwent an offseason overhaul after their disappointing finish. With a new Head Coach, the new-and-improved Bears are eyeing a division title in 2013. Let’s take a look at their chances.
Reasons to feel goods
Although he won 10 games last season, there wasn’t exactly widespread outrage in Chicago over Lovie Smith’s firing. The world’s foremost Rex Grossman supporter was replaced by CFL transplant Marc Trestman, bringing with him a highly-effective rendition of the West Coast offense. An annually-soft offensive line was bolstered through free agent additions Jermon Bushrod and guard Matt Slauson, as well as first-round-pick Kyle Long from Oregon. The Bears won’t exactly sport the league’s best O-line, but should improve upon last year’s effort.
Brandon Marshall gives Chicago a top-5 receiving threat, and he will be complemented by second-year-pro Alshon Jeffery, who Jay Cutler praised as the most impressive player in Bears’ camp. Former Giants’ tight end Martellus Bennett was added as a threat over the middle, and has quickly developed a report with Cutler since his arrival in Chicago.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Bears return a solid core, minus longtime MLB Brian Urlacher. The Bears sport one of the NFL’s best secondaries, led by CB Peanut Tillman, with Henry Melton and Julius Peppers anchoring a formidable front-four.
Reasons to feel not so good
Despite improvements, offensive line play is still a major concern for these Bears. Jay Cutler’s life remains very much in danger—and speaking of Cutler, there are still question marks surrounding the 8-year veteran. Cutler has only one postseason under his belt, continues to be erratic, and has spent most of his career under the impression that throwing to anyone but Brandon Marshall will result in instant death.
The Bears’ defense underperformed down the stretch and relied too heavily on turnovers, and with the offensive-minded Trestman in charge, it remains to be seen if Chicago will move away from the stellar defense they’ve built themselves on. And while we’re on the subject of Trestman, it’s a shame that no Bears’ executive had the courage to tell him just how creepy his hair is. To make matters worse, Trestman often wears a hat, giving him the distinct look of a guy who’s trying to blend into a crowd after assassinating someone in broad daylight.
Questionable hair decisions aside, the Bears face a difficult schedule, including non-divisional matchups with the Ravens, Redskins, Steelers, and Giants.
Trestman’s fast-paced offense is designed for Cutler to get the ball out of his hands before the inevitable offensive line failure, and if successful, the Bears will be a formidable threat in the NFC. With a strong defense and legitimate offensive weapons, the 2013 Bears will challenge the Packers for the NFC North crown.
The Chicago Bears must have thought they hit the jackpot a few years ago when a disgruntled Jay Cutler demanded a trade out of Denver after his infamous falling out with former head coach Josh McDaniels and landed in Chicago, where he replaced Kyle Orton as the starting quarterback. But after four seasons in Chicago, Cutler has yet to emerge as the elite quarterback they thought they were getting, and he is yet to take the Bears anywhere close to the Super Bowl, like they were hoping he would do. Just as they have in previous years, the Bears are wondering if this is the year that Cutler will finally break out.
The Bears thought they were getting a quarterback that was about to take off, but Cutler has never come close to matching the more than 4,500 yards passing he had in his final season in Denver, nor has he been able to match the 62% completion rate he had that season. If anything, Cutler has regressed over the past four seasons, becoming a less accurate thrower who still struggles with his decision-making and throws far too many interceptions that hurt both himself and his team. After so many seasons of it being the same old story with Cutler, it’s becoming harder and harder to believe that he’ll ever have a breakout season.
If there’s a reason to believe that this year will be different for Cutler, it could be new head coach Marc Trestman. Tresman has more than a dozen years of experience as a quarterback coach in the NFL, and has a great track record of success working with quarterbacks who are not nearly as talented as Cuter. But along with Trustman comes a complicated offense that Cutler will have to master, and the tall task of meeting all the expectations that Trestman has for his starting quarterback. Cutler worked with the keen offensive mind of Mike Martz earlier in his tenure in Chicago, but with little improvement, so if Cutler doesn’t show signs of improvement under the tutelage of Trestman, there may not be a coach out there that can turn Cutler into an elite quarterback.
Although a poor offensive line has been partly to blame for Cutler’s struggles in Chicago, the Bears have tried their best to put him in a position to succeed in 2013. They used two of their draft picks this year on offensive linemen, both of who are projected as starters, including first round pick Kyle Long, who has had a strong performance this preseason. The Bears also brought in a top wide receiver in Brandon Marshall prior to the 2012 season, after he and Cutler worked well together in Denver early in Cutler’s career. Chicago also used their second round pick in 2012 to draft Alshon Jeffery, giving Cutler two big targets for Cutler to throw to. The Bears also have Earl Bennett as a reliable third receiver and promising rookie Marquess Wilson, which should be enough weapons for a quarterback as talented as Cutler.
This season may be Cutler’s best opportunity to have a breakout year for the Bears, but it also might be his last opportunity. Cutler’s contract is up after this season, and the Bears don’t seem too eager to re-sign him if he’s going to be the same player in 2013 that he’s been the past few seasons. Without some noticeable signs of improvement this season, Cutler could have difficulty finding a team that’s willing to guarantee him a starting job for 2014 and beyond. Not only could this be the year for Cutler to break out, but it also must be the year that he finally emerges from mediocrity and starts living up to his potential, or else his status as a starter in the NFL could be in jeopardy.
We all know that Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers own the NFC North Division, and there will be high expectations in 2013 on Rodgers to lead the Packers back to the Super Bowl. But it’s important to remember the other three quarterbacks in the NFC North, all of who are at an important stage in their career, and who all have a lot to prove this season.
Jay Cutler of the Chicago Bears may be the most enigmatic of the three quarterbacks. His arm talent can measure up with just about any quarterback in the NFL, but he’s been inconsistent throughout his career, often struggling with turnovers. During his four seasons with the Bears, he has been unable to eclipse the more than 4,500 passing yards and 63% completion rate that he had in 2008, his final year with the Denver Broncos.
The blame is not all on Cutler, as he’s the most sacked quarterback in the NFL over the last four years, but after six full seasons as a starting quarterback, a player with his talent should have already established himself as one of the top-10 passers in the league, but Cutler is nowhere close to accomplishing that.
This season may be the most important of Cutler’s career; he is entering the final year of his contract and will be playing under a new head coach. Marc Trestman has a successful history of working with quarterbacks, but he will also be demanding of Cutler and have high expectations for what he expects out of Cutler, who better be able to meet those expectations, and do so on a consistent basis. There is also a lot of pressure on Cutler to lead Chicago to the playoffs, regardless of the uncertainty of his contract status with the Bears following this season.
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has already done the easy part, signing his name to a big contract extension, but now comes the hard part, leading Detroit to some wins and possibly even a playoff berth. Stafford has proven what he’s capable of doing statistically the past two seasons, throwing for over 5,000 yards in 2011 and nearly reaching that mark again last season. However, team success has not mirrored Stafford’s individual success, and he needs to do his best to make sure that’s not the case again in 2013. Despite’s Stafford brilliant statistical line, the Lions lost their final eight games in 2012, which wasn’t entirely his fault, but if Detroit is going to continue to throw the ball at such a high rate, at some point it’s on Stafford to ensure that the team wins. Signing a big contract after a four-win season means that Stafford needs to deliver more than just great stats, he needs to deliver wins in 2013.
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder may be the most in danger of losing his job out of the starting quarterbacks in the NFC North. Minnesota reached the playoffs last year despite Ponder, not because of him. Even in an offense that is dependent on the run and conservative with the pass, Ponder has been unimpressive in his first two NFL seasons, putting him on thin ice as far as being a starter beyond this season. Winning games in 2013 won’t be enough to secure his future as a starter in this league; he’s going to have to win games and look impressive while doing so. The Vikings have given him a good collection of skill players to throw to, in addition to one of the top rushing attacks in the NFL, so if Ponder can’t improve his performance in 2013, his time as a starter in Minnesota or anywhere else could be over.
Whether it’s trying to find consistency, living up to a new contract, or just proving that you belong in the NFL, the three NFC North quarterbacks that don’t have a league MVP and Super Bowl championship under their belt all have something to prove in 2013. The pressure may be on Rodgers to get the Packers back to the Super Bowl, but Cutler, Stafford, and Ponder all also facing high pressure situations of their own as the season gets underway.
It’s always sad to see a great athlete hang up his cleats for good, but in the case of Brian Urlacher, who announced his retirement from professional football earlier this week, he’s going out at the right time and in the right way. Urlacher is retiring before his play takes a significant downward turn and before he becomes a shadow of the player he once was. He’s ending his career with class and dignity, a career that he devoted entirely to one team and that will undoubtedly carry him to Canton one day.
Urlacher said it best himself in his retirement statement, “I’m not sure I would bring a level of performance or passion that’s up to my standards.” It’s difficult for a professional athlete, especially one the caliber of Urlacher, to admit this personally, much less admit it publically, but Urlacher being able to come out and say this shows great character. After an outstanding 13-year career, it’s tough to admit that you’re not the player you were, that you can’t play at the same high level that you once did, and that your passion for the game isn’t what it needs to be to compete against a new generation of players, and Urlacher should be admired for being able to come to grips with that and walk away from the game when he knows his time has come.
The cynics will say that Urlacher is too proud and arrogant to take a meager contract offer and accept a diminished role on a team, but there’s nothing wrong with Urlacher being proud of the player he was. The simple act of retiring is acknowledging that is no longer capable of being an elite player. He doesn’t need to fall deep into mediocrity with the entire league watching to know that, and so retiring when he was still one of the best at his position instead of becoming a second-tier player is an admirable act.
Perhaps the most refreshing part of Urlacher’s retirement is the timing of it. Retiring at this time of the year means that it was a well thought out decision, and not an over reaction to any one thing. The timing also means that news of his retirement is not interfering with anything else on the NFL calendar. Urlacher isn’t drawing attention away from the end of the regular season, the postseason, the draft, or even the start of the regular season, which is still more than 100 days away. He’s not trying to make a big deal out of his retirement, he’s not leaving the door open for a comeback, nor is he trying to create some kind of narcissistic farewell tour for himself; he’s merely making a well thought out decision with regards to his future.
Now that Urlacher is officially retired, it’s only a matter of time until he is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. While stats aren’t quite as important for defensive players as they are for offensive players, Urlacher is one of just four players with more than 40 sacks and more than 20 interceptions in his career, putting him in elite company. He was a transformative player at the middle linebacker position, leading a new generation of middle linebackers that are as fast as they are physical and impactful against both the run and the pass.
Urlacher was a key player and a leader on one of the NFL’s best defensive teams during his time in the league. There should be no debate as to Urlacher’s credentials, and it’ll be simply a matter of when, not if, he gets into the Hall of Fame. The wait for the Hall of Fame begins now, after Urlacher chose the right time and the right way to hang up his cleats and retire from football.
Brian Urlacher was able to end what’s been an illustrious 13 year career in the NFL as a member of the Chicago Bears on wednesday. Urlacher had tested the free agent market after the Bears made him an offer he deemed a “slap in the face”, but couldn’t find a deal to his likings and came to terms with the idea of retiring a Bear. And it just seems so right.
Now all that’s left is to determine whether he deserves a bust in Canton as an inductee into the Hall of Fame. An honour I feel he is all too deserving of. Super Bowl or not.
In his 13 seasons in the NFL Brian Urlacher anchored what was always one of the most feared and respected defenses in the NFL. He was not only a vocal leader on the field, but off it as well. More importantly he was a great teammate to all he encountered, as per Mike Ditka speaking on ESPN. I’ve yet to witness any of his relationships with teammates or otherwise, but it’s not a statement I find hard to believe.
As great as his intangibles are, his stats are equally impressive. If not more. Urlacher is one of only four players to be a member of the 40 sack 20 interception club, with 41.5 sacks and 22 interceptions. Urlacher only missed 26 games during his long career, which isn’t a fantastic number, but not one worth overlooking either. The Bears regular season record with Urlacher in the lineup from 2000-2012 was 101-76, and their post-season record was 3-4.
The one thing that could, by some weird stretch of the imagination, hurt his chances of getting into Canton would be the fact that he never won a Super Bowl. In 2006 the Bears made it to the Super Bowl, but were beat by another future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts 29-17. In all fairness though, the fact that the Bears made it that far with Rex Grossman playing quarterback can only attest to the defensive brilliance displayed by the Bears, with Urlacher leading the way.
It’s a shame to see Urlacher go, but a blessing that I got to watch him play for as long as I did. For the entirety of the his career Urlacher was the epitome of class and professionalism both on and off the field. Here’s to hoping he gets to display it for at least one more time as he delivers his speech for induction into the hall.
You can follow J.D. Burke: @JDBurkeOV