Brian Urlacher Days Until Chicago Bears Season Opener


We here at Bear Goggles On get pretty excited for the return of Chicago Bears football and we know you do too, so we’re administering a steady one-a-day dose of pigskin methadone to get us by until there are actual games to digest.  Today we sit 54 days away from the week one matchup against the Green Bay Packers, so naturally today’s medicine is a look back at #54, Brian Urlacher.

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It has now been more than two years since Brian Urlacher announced his retirement from the team for whom he starred.  Two seasons and counting in the wait for the next great Bears linebacker to resume the tradition on temporary hiatus since the departure of #54.

Heck, at this point “great” is a luxury.  We’ll settle for the next competent linebacker; hopefully new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio can find a few on the roster in the coming weeks.

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For 13 years Urlacher prowled the field for Bears’ defenses and earned his entry into the franchise’s linebacker fraternity next to names like Butkus, Singletary and Buffone.  From the time he was drafted in 2000 until that fateful day in April 2013 when he turned down the one-year contract Phil Emery and Marc Trestman offered him, Urlacher was the face of one of the NFL’s most storied franchises.

From one year to the next we didn’t know what was going to happen with the offense, but the main attraction was the defense and Urlacher was the star.

Football mortality is a fact of the NFL that we don’t like to think about until we have to when it comes to our star players.  It was undoubtedly catching up to Urlacher in those final years and we could hear the bell tolling.  He wasn’t the same side-to-side physical freak he used to be, but whatever he had lost athletically he made up for with his knowledge for the game like so many greats before him have done in the twilight of their careers.

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It hasn’t been very long since he last laced ’em up and the memories of his exploits are still vivid, but the numbers do Urlacher’s legacy justice as much as any personal recollection or favorite play.

Most tackles ever for any defender in Chicago Bear history, most sacks by any LB in team history, second-most interceptions by any LB in Bears history (second only to HOF Doug Buffone) and third most starts in Bears history behind only the great Walter Payton and Olin Kreutz.

Urlacher’s #54 remains in pseudo-retirement for now as the team presumably isn’t inclined to let anyone else wear it until the dust from his reign completely settles.  Unless the Bears start using triple-digits on the back of jerseys, however, it’s unlikely that Urlacher’s number is ever fully retired due to the 14 others already off-limits for future players.

For my money Urlacher is a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee and until I hear differently, my plan to truck it over to Canton, OH for his enshrinement in the summer of 2018 remains unchanged.

Next: Jonathan Bostic: the Next Great Bears LB?

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