“The Face Of Chicago” Is Looking To Cash In The Right Way (Paid His Dues, Playing Through Every Obstacle) Despite His Recent Back/Neck Problems:
Recovery/Talks: LB Brian Urlacher has been in discussion with the Bears to further his contract beyond 2011, according to the Chicago Tribune. The recovery process from minor neck surgery has been going smoothly, and he has been cleared to lift weights and begin running in two weeks. Urlacher wants the Bears to make a serious financial commitment to him now and beyond 2011, when the nine-year contract he signed five years ago ends. He made $3.95 million last season, a small amount when compared to the 11 other linebackers that had higher base salaries. The deal Urlacher signed in ’03 totaled $57 million, with a $13 million bonus.
No Debate/Resume Speaks For Itself: While #54 is seeking to get paid like one of the top LB’s that he is, being one of the best, if not the best LB in the NFL, he still has to keep in mind he is getting up there in age (30) and considerably has been seen, as some critics say, to have “lost a step” in pursuit of the ballcarrier. GM Jerry Angelo may have to think over a decision to extend his deal based on the fact that his best days are behind him. Although it can be discussed to say he’s dropped off a bit in terms of speed, we know the 6-foot 4, 258-pound playmaking LB has what you look for in a superstar defender, as Urlacher possesses the quickness, size, strength, toughness, versatility, and instincts as incredible abilities that can be seen on the field. But when you look at the many assets and traits you can use to describe his play on the field, the one thing that cannot be measured nor put into words, but only marvel at is his presence on the field as a true leader taking charge, being the man in the middle for the Bears defense. When it comes down to getting the job done, far and few have what it takes to match Urlacher’s intensity and production. Chicago’s embraced the likes of Mike Singletary and Dick Butkus during their years at middle linebacker, and though Urlacher may not be considered the “dominant” guy stat-wise he always has Chicago in position to perform well defensively because of what he not only brings to the table physically but what he brings mentally, being what you ask for in a leader, an athlete leading by example. If you want #s you got ’em: 970 tackles (116 in every year but 1), 37.5 sacks (most by Bears LB), 15 interceptions, 2 touchdowns, 8 forced fumbles, and 57 passes defensed for his career in 7 seasons. Urlacher is right up there with Ray Lewis as the best active MLB in the game today and I would not want anyone else to start for me at MLB than him.
Shocker: Eight of Urlacher’s teammates earned more money than him in ’07, according to salary and bonus information available through the NFL Players Association.
Briggs on Urlacher: “We’re talking a guy who was the defensive player of the year, an All-Pro, and someone who has been to numerous Pro Bowls,” Briggs said of Urlacher. “This guy obviously has outplayed his contract.
Defensive Player of the Year, Perennial Pro-Bowler, All-Pro are all great accolades but can he continue on? I believe that just by looking at the LB’s that succeed playing next to him is a good enough indication that he should get a new deal. He is a player that makes others around him better and the defense is average without him, as they have proved that with an 0-7 record with #54 on the sidelines in ’04. As much as he’s been beaten up throughout his career he has only missed a total of seven games (all in 2004)! The “ironman” has had 6 out of 7 years in which he has played the entire season!
“For them not to have serious consideration about re-doing his contract, that just wouldn’t make sense. And you see a guy like
Someone they all look up to! You cannot get a better complement. Ever since they drafted him as the 9th overall pick out of little-known New Mexico in 2000 (Burress was wanted instead), Urlacher has turned around a lackluster defense unit into a intimidating, dominating 11-man unit! More importantly, Chicago has won and gone to the Super Bowl with #54 anchoring the middle of the field. He is consistent and durable, and is always around the ball. Urlacher does his job without “yapping” (Let’s His Actions Do The Talking) and is often overlooked (SN’s Most Overrated Player in ’05).
“People might have said that this year, he lost his step. But we lost our step as a defense. Next year they’re going to say, ‘Man, he’s playing pretty [darn] good for a guy his age. ”
It was not all his fault as he still piled up five sacks, five picks (an 85-yard TD), a career-high 12 passes defensed, and 123 tackles! Urlacher may not have the wheels of “WR-like” speed to catch up with the best of ’em any longer but there is no doubting his impact on this team! Sideline-to-Sideline, play-to-play, series-to-series, game-to-game, season-to-season you can call on Urlacher to make big plays, counting on him to lead the defense and put fear into the opposing offense’s eyes.