Brian Urlacher set standard for linebackers in pass-crazy era

Mike Ditka to Brian Urlacher: ‘Move on’ from Bears exit

How big is it to be able to cover the middle? Consider that the most accomplished active inside linebacker, speedy San Francisco 49er Patrick Willis, came in idolizing Lewis as a tackling machine. In recent years, however, Willis, flanked by another ace cover linebacker, NaVorro Bowman, has used that speed to turn himself into a better downfield defender. Then look around the league at the next wave of stars. Luke Kuechly, the Carolina Panthers’ reigning rookie of the year, is an exceptional cover man while also carrying over the hard-nosed tackling ability of a classic 4-3 middle linebacker. That goes for the player he edged for the award last season, the Seattle Seahawks’ Bobby Wagner. The Dallas Cowboys have promise with their new middle-weakside pair, Sean Lee and Bruce Carter, in Monte Kiffin’s Tampa 2 scheme. The Miami Dolphins just added a similar duo in Lewis’ rangy former teammate, Dannell Ellerbe, and former Oakland Raiders standout Phillip Wheeler. Keep looking at every team that can play the 4-3 front well, and there’s a middle man who can cover, from the Minnesota Vikings’ Erin Henderson to the St. Louis Rams’ James Laurinaitis.

The fans loved him unconditionally. Why wouldn’t he want that organization and fan base to experience ultimate success? Ego and competitive spirit play a role, as does publicly stated bad blood with Bears general manager Phil Emery. Mike Ditka, another Bears icon, believes Urlacher should let go of any bitter feelings he has for his former team. “My advice would be to put it behind you,” Ditka told the Chicago Sun-Times on Saturday. “Brian has been such a great player for the Bears and an ambassador for the team. Not many guys get to play 13 years for the same team.

Ten Foot Mailbag: Urlacher Rooting Against The Bears & Paterno’s Legacy

21, 2007): Few will forget running back Reggie Bush taunting Urlacher on an 88-yard, third-quarter touchdown run. But Urlacher and the Bears came away with bragging rights thanks to 21 fourth-quarter points. Urlacher finished with four tackles and four pass deflections. “I just remember winning the game at home, we were holding the Halas Trophy and the snow was coming down on the platform with all my teammates standing there,” Urlacher said. “I remember Lovie (Smith) and coach (Ron) Rivera being up there with us. I remember Rex Grossman being up there with us. I mean, we’re holding the trophy with snow coming down. It was perfect.” 2. Colts 29, Bears 17, Super Bowl XLI (Feb.

Brian Urlacher retiring from NFL

And that photo has been published elsewhere prior to this week. From The New Yorker : What is so troubling about this image, and many of the others that have become available since April, is that Tsarnaev really does look like a rock star. In this way, the photograph onRolling Stoneis of a part with the often unexpected, and unsettling, portrait of Tsarnaev that has emerged over the past few months. I think its a bold and not inappropriate choice. Hes not Osama Bin Laden. Hes not Ayman Al-Zawahiri. He doesnt look the part. But the part has apparently changed, and thats another wrinkle we have to deal with, not get pissy over and bemoan how its soiled our virgin eyes and then make the always productive Facebook page decrying it. Why do we demand that evil people look evil? Neil Steinberg wrote Thursday . Isnt it truerand more valuableto realize that the next terrorist, the next murderer, could indeed be someone who looks like this goofy teen? Real life is not a movie, we dont get thuggish bad guys with jagged facial scars.

Urlacher, Lewis broke the mold for prototype inside linebackers

We even saw a little bit of that same issue with Urlacher and Ray Lewis in recent years. It’s a young man’s position now. It’s tougher to match up with these tight ends and backs when you get older. The legs start to go. In your head and heart you think you can still get there, but the body says ‘Screw it.’ ” Indeed, there were times in recent seasons when Lewis and Urlacher were painfully exposed in pass coverage, with too much open space on the field to account for, and not enough speed to chase down the young and athletic skill-position weapons that enter the league every year. Legs are the indispensable part of an inside linebacker’s game in today’s NFL, and can’t really be compensated for, at least not for long. It’s one good reason we may not see the likes of Lewis and Urlacher — and 15-year veteran Redskins inside linebacker London Fletcher — again. Athleticism has become so essential to playing the position that longevity may become an endangered trait. “I can make the argument that for a three- or four-year period, Urlacher was unbelievably great, because his speed and athleticism were absolutely special before he started getting older and his injuries started piling up,” said Greg Cosell, an NFL analyst and senior producer at NFL Films.

Former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher retires

Urlacher finished his final season having contributed 68 tackles and an interception returned 46 yards for a touchdown on Nov. 4 against the Tennessee Titans . Urlacher’s 180 starts rank No. 3 in franchise history. A sprained MCL in the 2011 season finale at Minnesota played at least a small role in Urlacher’s value diminishing to the Bears. Urlacher injured his left knee when he collided with teammate Major Wright in the end zone during the fourth quarter against the Vikings. It was believed initially that surgery wouldn’t be required on the injured knee. But after participating in the first few workouts of training camp in 2012, Urlacher underwent an arthroscopic debridement procedure on the knee, which kept him out of the entire preseason. Urlacher returned to practice on Sept.

Urlacher ranks his top five games

Brian Urlacher holds up the George Halas Trophy after the Bears beat the Saints 39-14 in the NFC Championship game at Soldier Field on January 21,2007.

9 pick in the 2000 draft and became the Bears’ starting middle linebacker early in his rookie season. He defined the position, along with Baltimore’s Ray Lewis, for the next decade. Urlacher was named to eight Pro Bowls, was a five-time All Pro selection and was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2005. It’s possible Urlacher and Lewis could enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame together. Urlacher struggled to stay healthy the past few years, with a dislocated wrist in 2009, a knee injury late in 2011 and a hamstring injury that kept him out of the final month of last season. “I will miss my teammates, my coaches and the great Bears fans. I’m proud to say I gave all of you everything I had every time I took the field,” Urlacher said.

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