Former Bear Hillenmeyer Not Sure If He Will Play in 2011

Hunter Hillenmeyer says that he’s not sure if he’s going to return to the game once the labor deal gets done. He tells ESPN Chicago that it’s up to the doctors and other factors if he decides to try and play again.

Hunter Hillenmeyer’s professional football career might be winding down, but the former Chicago Bears linebacker remains plugged-in to the ongoing NFL labor dispute. The team’s former player representative — a role currently held by kicker Robbie Gould — Hillenmeyer landed on injured reserve Sept. 14, 2010 due to a concussion and because players on IR tend not to be around the facility every day, Hillenmeyer pushed for the Bears to elect a new player rep (Gould). Hillenmeyer continued to serve as an alternate representative, and even though the Bears released the veteran on Feb. 28, he continues to help Gould provide lockout updates to members of the Bears roster.

“It’s tricky because there is definitely progress, but you have to know the starting points to know exactly where that progress has gotten to,” Hillenmeyer told ESPNChicago.com on Tuesday. “In our most recent conference calls, one of our key things that DeMaurice Smith was trying to communicate to the player reps was ‘listen, people in the media outlets have to have some news, people want to know what’s going on, so they’re probably going to lean towards making more out of the day-to-day than there really is.’ DeMaurice message was that a deal is not imminent and it’s dangerous for players to think that because if guys go spending money like they think there is going to be a paycheck coming on the date of the first game, that’s a dangerous mindset for players to have.

A versatile linebacker who started 69 regular-season games and posted a pair of 100-plus tackle seasons for the Bears from 2003-09, Hillenmeyer, originally selected by the Green Bay Packers in the fifth-round of the 2003 NFL draft, is unsure whether to continue playing after suffering a concussion playing special teams against the Detroit Lions in Week 1 of the 2010 regular season.

“I’m still figuring that out, but I’ve obviously had the benefit of time on my side. It’s crazy to me does start, there are 500-600 free agents out there who are trying to figure out, not just what their contract is going to look like, but what team they’re going to be playing for,” Hillenmeyer said. “You’re going to have a period where it’s bedlam whenever it gets worked out, where general managers and agents are literally not going to be able to sleep for weeks because they’re going to have to figure out where everybody is going to land. “I’m still weighing that decision because there are a lot of factors…doctors opinions and things like that are weighing into my decision.”

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