I can almost see Boomer, one of my oldest, dearest friends reading this and thinking, “DeCon is a lot drunk, pretty mad and TOO DAMN SAD and he must be overseas because he is writing!!!” He would be right about the being overseas part. That said, on March 20, 2013, the Chicago Bears ended an era of the third of the great MLBs fielded by the Beloved…Butkus, Singletary and now Urlacher. It seems like yesterday when I was sitting in Dino’s Pub in 2000 with my good friend, Bart, with yet another excuse to go out and bend elbows, watching the 2000 NFL Draft. Honestly, I was hoping the Bears selected Plaxico Burress who was selected one pick before an unknown, Brian Urlacher out of New Mexico.
A safety and subperb athlete in college, it was unknown at the time where the Bears would put Urlacher on a team known for its defense. Linebacker was the obvious choice considering his measureables, but was he going to be the next Mike Mamula…a combine freak whose draft stock soared as the draft approached. Little did I know at the time, I was enjoying cold beers on a Saturday afternoon watching Bears history be written as the next great MLB of the Bears was just drafted. Thankfully, the Bears knew what they were doing and, now, 13 years later, we are saying farewell to a legend.
To say I am a Bears fan is like saying the earth is round. To say I guzzle the blue and orange Kool Aid no matter the temperature is like saying water is wet. These things just are. As a die hard Chicago fan, I have seen some of the greats play in their prime…Jordan, Payton and Urlacher. Urlacher is different to me since I have been able to enjoy and really appreciate his entire career in a Bears uniform during my most “educated” and passionate fandom years. To describe his impact on my fandom is like me explaining the most complicated physics formula. Urlacher simply embodied Chicago. Tough, blue collar, honest and about team above self…things I hope to teach my kids in their lives.
While his mark on Bears football will be difficult, if not impossible, to measure, it was time…time to turn the page. The Bears have hired its first offensive minded coach since it hired a certain Mike Ditka many moons ago. The league has changed and while defense still wins championships, the Bears needed to change its collective mindset. Scoring points is just as important, if not moreso than having a 6’4, 260lbs linebacker that could run like the wind and hit like a Mack truck.
When I got a text from Boomer this morning with the news of Urlacher’s departure, my immediate reaction was, “way to rip the bandaid off all at once, Mr. Emery.” After some reflection, I realize, that the NFL is a tough business and in the words of Coach Ditka, “this too, shall pass.” Gone, but not forgotten; the end of an era; however you sum it up, the Bears will look different next year for sure. I am trusting the process and the powers that be, that the Bears, in the long run, will be better off. This is because I wear my colors proudly; I live and breathe for the blue and orange and I believe the Bears are sincerely on the right track as it relates to getting back to the seat of supremacy on which they deserve to sit.
Once the season kicks off in September, I know I will, again, be a little drunk, a little mad and a LOT sad to not see #54 line up for the Beloved. After that, I will be a fan and looking for the Bears to be successful and know that the best years are ahead and I can’t wait to watch it happen!!!
CAN I GET AN AMEN?!?!?!?!?!
The DeCon has spoken, so let it be written, so let it be done…