Brian Urlacher #54 Linebacker
13th Season/New Mexico
Bio - The eight-time Pro Bowler boasts 1,691 career tackles- the most ever in Bears history- and ranks seventh on the team's career sacks with 41.5. Urlacher, who was named the AP Defensive Player of the Year in 2005, leads all NFL linebackers with 14 interceptions since 2006 and is tied for second among linebackers with 21 interceptions in his career (the third most in Bears history among linebackers). Urlacher has recorded over 100 tackles in eleven out of twelve seasons, with his career high of 214 coming in 2002 (the most by a Bear since the statistics first began being recorded). He was the first player in Bears history to have a 90+ yard fumble return for a TD at Atlanta in 2001 and an 80+ yard interception return for a score (against Green Bay in 2007). Urlacher was a major contributor during Chicago's 2005 season, which saw the Bears allow only 202 points (the least since the franchise-record 187 in 1988), and he was also the first Bear to set the team's pace for tackles for four straight seasons since Singletary from 1988-92. The fifth player in franchise history to receive Pro Bowl selections in each of his first four NFL seasons, Urlacher also ranks second on Bears all-time list for career fumble return yards with 173 on 14 total recoveries. He won NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2000. In his spare time, Urlacher supports the Special Olympics in Chicagoland and his home state of New Mexico. He also continues to give back to his high school (Lovington High School in New Mexico) through charity basketball games and supplying shoes for the sports programs.
Lou's Call – truly the "heart and soul" of this team. I've said the Bears can't lose Julius Peppers this year nor can they afford to lose Urlacher. His leadership on the field and in the locker room along with his play can't be replaced. Urlacher's told me his knee is healthy so that shouldn't be of concern. In 2011, this guy at the age of 33 missed 14 defensive snaps all season! He had 3 interceptions in 2011 but zero sacks. Matter of fact, Urlacher hasn't recorded a sack in 4 of the last 5 seasons. My money is on "the face of the franchise" to put together another solid year and then it will be up to the Bears to show the free agent to be, "the money!"
Tom's Take – In my mind, Urlacher is all ready a Hall of Famer, but he could make it a whole lot easier on voters if he continues to play at a high level. I expect that to happen and I expect that, if healthy, the Bears will look to resign him before the year is out. At age 34, he still has the athletic ability to cover as much ground as any MLB in the game.
Dionne's View – 34 and still the best middle linebacker in the league. Love his attitude, his preparation and performance. He's the reason the defense will be strong again this season. He says this is the most talented team he's been a part of. Believe him! Entering the final year of his contract, he says free agency sounds interesting. I say, he IS Bears defense. He can't play in a different uniform…can he??