Since being drafted with the number nine pick in the 2000 NFL draft, Brian Urlacher has been the face of the Chicago Bears. Many questioned why the Bears drafted Urlacher to be a linebacker after playing safety for the majority of his college career. The move proved to be the right one as Urlacher has been one of the if not the best middle linebacker in the NFL for a majority of his career.
Over the course of 13 years in Chicago, Urlacher has made the fans rise and cheer time and time again. During his tenure in Chicago, the Bears have won four division titles, been to two NFC title games winning one, and advanced to Super Bowl XLI only to lose to the Indianapolis Colts. That is one of the most successful runs that the Chicago Bears have ever had in that time frame.
Urlacher has battled various injuries that have limited his effectiveness from time to time. But one thing is for sure, the Bears defense has truly suffered when Brian is not on the field. When Urlacher is on the field the Bears defense has consistently been one of the best in the league. The one game that sticks out in my mind to show the pure strength and will of Brian Urlacher is on the field is the 2006 Monday night game versus the Arizona Cardinals.
The Bears trailed in that game 20-0 at halftime, yet came back to win the game 24-23 despite the offense not scoring a single point. You could really see Brian Urlacher get angry and decide to take over that football game. Urlacher finished that game with 19 tackles, and 11 of those tackles were solo! Had Urlacher not responded the way he did in that game, the Bears would have never won that game.
Is Brian Urlacher the same player today he was back on the Monday night in the desert back in 2006? I think even Urlacher himself would tell you that he is not, but there is no doubting the effect that he has on this Bears team. Urlacher is the unquestioned leader in the Bears locker room. Though he missed the last few games of the season, Urlacher remained on the teams sideline leading his teammates and helping the Bears any way he could.
Leaders like Brian Urlacher do not come along everyday, in fact leaders like Urlacher are a once in a generation type. With the change over in coaching staff that has happened in Chicago, keeping Urlacher should be an easy decision. Urlacher could be a huge asset to new defensive coordinator Mel Tucker with his intimate knowledge and experience in the 4-3 defense. The Bears quite frankly are going to need Urlacher to remain on this roster to reach the level of defense that they are capable of.