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