Chicago Bears training camp started off drama-free, without any holdouts or contract disputes or other silly distractions. All the talk was about Super Bowls and the new high powered offense, which would revolutionize Chicago Bears football as we know it. As far as I’m concerned, the revolution will not be televised after watching the early stages of their work against the Broncos, but the offense is sure to improve.
The defense, on the other hand, is in a big state of flux with the uncertainty of the health of one Brian Urlacher. The face of the franchise has been M.I.A. since the calendar turned to August, being excused for personal reasons while rumors have swirled about his health. #54 was back in camp on Sunday and addressed his status for the season opener:
“Sept. 9, I’ll be ready to play for sure,” Urlacher said, referring to the regular-season opener against the Colts. “That’s really all that matters to me. Preseason games, all these practices … I’d love to be out there, but I’m not going to put myself in jeopardy of missing the first game.”
Urlacher was asked about the “personal reasons” for his absence, but here’s Vaughn McClure’s bit from the Tribune article on how Urlacher responded:
Sunday, Urlacher was asked whether he had more tests done on the knee as a result of the soreness. He somewhat sidestep the question, although Urlacher has no intentions of undergoing any type of arthroscopic procedure.
“Our doctors are the best,” he said. “I trust what they say (and) our trainers. I just do what I’m told to do.”
I don’t think it would be the worst thing in the world to have Urlacher get a second or even third opinion on the knee. Would it kill him and the Bears to admit that they’ve been doing that? Why does everything have to be such a big secret with the Bears?
As for Urlacher, I will take him at his word that he’ll be out there when it counts on September 9th. What worries me is how effective he’ll be. Can he perform at a Pro Bowl level while hampered by that troublesome knee?
It also worries me how he’ll be doing on September 13th when the Bears face the Packers in Lambeau just four days later when the Bears kick off the Thursday Night Football slate, assuming he plays in the season opener. If he can’t make it through a few practices without experiencing enough swelling and soreness to keep him out for nearly two weeks, what’s going to change between now and September 9th to make you think he’ll be good to go.
He’s a tough competitor and a tough guy, but can he overcome the ticking hands of time as he tries to recover from a serious knee injury? That will be worth keeping an eye on as the season goes on for the Bears front office and Bears fans alike.