Despite the Chicago Bears not playing a regular season game (or even a preseason game), the hot topic coming out of Bears training camp is Brian Urlacher. As a reminder from last season’s final (and meaningless game), Urlacher twisted his knee during the third quarter against the Minnesota Vikings when teammate (and current goat) Major Wright launched himself like a lawn dart towards Urlacher and a Vikings Receiver.
We were told at the time that Urlacher dodged a bullet and would be ready to go by training camp. But, here we are, during training camp, and Brian Urlacher really hasn’t participated. Additionally, he hasn’t been at camp while dealing with what the Bears are calling “personal issues”.
Entering his 13th season, the future Hall of Famer Urlacher really doesn’t have much to prove. He keeps himself in unbelievable shape and isn’t competing for his job. At the same time, Urlacher is the heart and soul of this defense and one of if not the team’s leader. Fill-in Nick Roach has done a solid job from all reports, and Roach has proven that he can play linebacker at this level, but let’s not go crazy with the idea that Roach can replace all of the things Urlacher brings to the table. Even Roach will admit to it.
When the Bears open the season on September 9th against the Indianapolis Colts, I am assuming that Urlacher will be the starting middle linebacker. At the same time, if Urlacher isn’t 100%, I would rather see him work his way back. As we learned last season, the Bears got off to a slow start before kicking into high gear around November before losing Jay Cutler. You can even look at the New York Giants of last season as a perfect example of why you don’t always need to be at full-strength for week one.
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