Chicago Bears: What To Remember Most About Brian Urlacher
What To Remember About Brian Urlacher
Brian Urlacher was one of the few defensive players to be the face of their franchise. After the great Ray Lewis with the Baltimore Ravens and Urlacher himself, you tend to think of an offensive star or coach for the other teams of the NFL. When one thinks of Urlacher, certain things should come to mind. He is a rare kind of player that comes around only once in a while. He looked and played the part of Chicago Bears middle linebacker, and he should be in the Hall of Fame as a first-ballot selection. Thinking differently is just uncivilized.
Urlacher always played with a chip on his shoulder and gave the Bears everything he could. He was not afraid to say what he felt and has been on the wrong ends of fines. Never have the fines been for his on-field play, but they've always been for telling the NFL how he felt (and even once for wearing a Vitamin Water hat at Super Bowl Media day because Gatorade is the sports drink of the NFL). He showed true sportsmanship and has received praise ever since announcing his retirement last week.
Unless you saw him play on a fairly regular basis, you never truly understood the value Urlacher held in the Bears locker room. If you ever watched the Bears when Brian Urlacher was out of the lineup, you could see there was always something missing … leadership. He could read quarterbacks like a book and always knew what was coming from the opposing team’s offense.
Right From The Start
Urlacher was a class act on the field, and told it like it was off. He had lofty expectations upon winning Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2000. It was already then that people began to say he was the next great Chicago Bears Middle Linebacker.
He may be a standout middle linebacker, but Urlacher actually played safety in college. At New Mexico, he played in a 3-3-5 defensive scheme and played the "lobo" position (named after the school's mascot).
He Was Worth It
He was drafted with the ninth overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft. At the time, many questioned whether or not he was worth the selection. Seeing as how the only player in the draft with more Pro Bowl selections to his name is Tom Brady, a sixth-round pick who slipped by everyone, the Bears clearly made the right move.
Urlacher holds the Chicago Bears franchise record for tackles in a single season with 153 in 2002. He had sideline-to-sideline speed that was unmatched from anyone in the NFL, and could run down nearly any running back.
Not Many Could Do What He Could
He is one of only four players in NFL history with at least 40 sacks and 20 interceptions, which shows his ability to rush the quarterback as well as cover all but elite wide receivers.
He Had Vick's Number
Urlacher feared no one, including the elusive Michael Vick. Over the years, Brian Urlacher and the Chicago Bears have never lost to a Michael Vick led team. In four starts from 2002 to 2011, and another game in 2001 in which he played a whole half, Vick never defeated the Bears. Brian Urlacher always had the plan to stop the scrambling quarterback.
Couldn't Stop Him
Brian Urlacher became the first Bear to win the Defensive Player of the Year award since Mike Singletary in 1988 when he captured the award in 2005, leading the Bears to a 11-5 record in spite of a terrible passing offense led by then Rookie Kyle Orton. The defensive that year ranked second in yards-allowed and gave up the least amount of points in the league.
Brian Urlacher meant more to the Bears' defense than just his production. After a few weeks into his rookie year in 2000, he was already the leader of the Bears. After a 13-3, 2001 season for the Bears, and despite not winning Defensive Player of the Year, Urlacher finished the highest any defensive player ever finished in MVP voting (placing 5th).