DaBearsPod: The Brian Urlacher Edition [AUDIO]

| February 9th, 2018

On this week’s special edition of DaBearsPod:

  • Jeff finishes off the Josh McDaniels/Bears discussion, monologue-style.
  • Former Urlacher teammate Cam Worrell tells us all what made Lach special on and off the field. (There’s a great story here about a banquet Cam attended years after playing with Brian.)
  • A should-be-more-famous clip of Urlacher defending Cutler after the 2010 NFC title game.
  • Reverend Dave sings 54’s praises from eastern Africa.
  • Music from Monty Python & Henry Mancini!

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Audibles From the Long Snapper: A Few on 52 & Urlacher, Urlacher, Urlacher…

| February 5th, 2018

Five Super Bowl Thoughts

  • First Half Note 1: That was a horrible half of a football. Was it entertaining? Sure. But so is college football and that is rarely good either. Blown coverages, horrible tackling, wide open receivers, college-level kicking. This game should be the showcase of the league’s two best teams. Sadly, when it comes to the 2017 season, this game may be all we got.
  • First Half Note 2: The Eagles didn’t just look tougher, they looked like they had the better sideline. And even in the two Patriots Super Bowl losses, that was never the case. Pederson was running circles around Patricia.
  • Halftime: The halftime show was one of the greatest I’ve ever seen. Oh wait, no, I was cleaning my crockpot and listening to Harry Nilsson tracks in my kitchen while some people pantomimed horn playing in the middle of a football field for no reason whatsoever. Would love to see the NFL skip this worthless musical display one year and instead replace it with a speech from the Walter Payton Man of the Year winner after a short video presentation saluting that player’s work. Why not use your largest platform to promote some of the good being done by those involved in the game instead of promoting Justin Timberlake to sell some Pepsi?
  • Second Half Note 1: Tweeted a question. If you were the Eagles, and you won the Super Bowl with Foles, would you consider offering Wentz to the Browns for their two early firsts? Watching the second half, if I were the Eagles, I would even hesitate. Wentz is a terrific player but this Eagles team is proving they can win with Foles and he’s affordable. So why not stack the roster around him?
  • Second Half Note 2: Let’s be honest. This game came down to one play, the Brandon Graham sack/fumble of Brady late in the fourth. It was the only defensive play made in this Big 12 affair.
  • Final Thought: Think about what Doug Pederson and Nick Foles and the Eagles just did. They beat (a) the defending NFC champs (b) the league’s best defense and (c) Brady & Belichick en route to the franchise’s first Super Bowl title. This is legendary stuff in Philadelphia.

All Urlacher…after the jump!

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Will He Get In on the First Ballot?

| February 3rd, 2018

I’m not big on debating whether or not players belong in the Hall of Fame. And honestly, I loved Brian Urlacher but I don’t much care if he gets into Canton on the first or fifth try. (I’ll be much more passionate when this conversation moves to Charles Tillman and Devin Hester – both of whom I believe fundamentally changed the NFL.) Nevertheless, tonight Urlacher will find out his fate when it comes to the first ballot. Good luck, BU.

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DBB Weekend Show Featuring Former Bears Safety Cam Worrell [AUDIO]

| September 15th, 2017

On the Weekend Show:

  • Jeff scares himself by looking deeply at the first 8 games of the schedule and wonders if the Bears will be favored in any of them.
  • Cam Worrell talks about the mentality of turnovers and talks passionately about Brian Urlacher, Hall of Fame candidate. (“Lach” is a gracious paintball player but an animal on the field.)
  • Reverend Dave sets the new record for Most Mailed-in Sermon.

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Peanut Belongs In The Hall of Fame

| July 20th, 2016

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Administrative Note: This will be the first of 300 columns with the same headline.

When the 2021 NFL Hall of Fame Class is announced, Charles Tillman’s name should be on the list.

It’s not going to happen. Tillman spent his career being thought of as just a local hero even though he played in a major media market on a team that regularly had one of the best defenses in the NFL. While Tillman was one of the best players in the NFL, he was never really recognized for it.

Charles Woodson is a lock to be on that list. Tillman was a better player.

Woodson was most known for his ability to take the ball away, but he wasn’t necessarily better at that than Tillman. Woodson had a combined 98 interceptions and forced fumbles in 254 games. Peanut had 82 in 168 games. If you were to average that out to a 16 game season, Tillman would’ve averaged nearly eight per season, compared to around six for Woodson.

Woodson had more interceptions, but even there the difference isn’t great. Woodson averaged 4.1 interceptions per 16 games, while Tillman was at 3.6. While he could take the ball away, Woodson wasn’t nearly as good in coverage as Tillman was (the Packers typically put Tramon Williams on the other team’s best receiver).

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A Few Random Thoughts During an NFL Slow Period

| March 24th, 2015


Thought #1. Bears should meet the $4M a year demand for Stefan Wisniewski. Per a report from Brad Biggs in the Tribune:

Wisniewski is recovering from shoulder surgery after last season when he played with a torn labrum. The former second-round pick of the Raiders has made visits to the Seahawks and Bucs, and the Rams and Chiefs are also known to be interested. No team has been willing to meet his request of $4 million per season and it could be he winds up on a one- or two-year prove-it contract. At this point, it would be a mistake to rule out the Bears.

Wisniewski is young and talented and the kind of physical presence needed to anchor a John Fox offensive line. An interior offensive line of Slauson-Wiz-Long would set a new tone on the that side of the ball.

Thought #2. Jarvis Jenkins and Mason Foster are smart, short-term solutions on defense. No, neither of these players is going to the Pro Bowl. No, neither of these players are going to make Bears fans forget Dan Hampton or Dick Butkus. But they would be a solid, professional additions to a defensive unit desperate for such. (I’m assuming Mason Foster ultimately ends up in Chicago.)

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Around the League Tweets – April 3rd 2014!

| April 3rd, 2014

ATL Tweets

Around the League Tweets has our Pro Day Monday. No Tweeting that day. Will instead display our ability to eliminate apostrophes & articles.

2 of 10. There must be a dearth of corners on market if Champ Bailey still has interest from teams. 2013 tape made 1 thing clear: he’s done.

[Side note: I love when people make statements like, “Bailey should retire now.” Champ Bailey is thirty-five years old. Thirty five! And the morning after he retires he’ll enter a period of irrelevancy he hasn’t experienced since he was about 10. He won’t be a football player. He won’t be a star. He won’t be receiving a massive pay check weekly. Bailey should retire whenever the hell he wants.]

3 of 10. Urlacher didn’t learn from Tiki. Fans ma love ya in team’s uniform but they love TEAM far more. Best not criticize em post-career.

[Side note: If Urlacher continues to complain about the organization, he’ll start hearing boos at Soldier Field. ESPECIALLY if the Bears win without him.]

4 of 10. Release of Desean Jackson far too convenient for the Eagles. Wanna bet they had say as to when the DJax gang piece would come out?

5 of 10. Dont know if they’ll gel but Giants quietly went about fixing their biggest issue: porous offensive line play. Big, veteran bodies.

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Thank you, Brian Urlacher

| May 22nd, 2013

When news broke this morning that linebacker Brian Urlacher was officially retiring after 13 years in the NFL, just one phrase came to mind.

Thank you, Brian Urlacher.

Thank you for continuing the storied tradition of outstanding middle linebackers in Chicago. Thank you providing the Chicago Bears with 13 years of incredible play and top-notch leadership. Thank you for putting up with all the terrible offenses in Chicago and still managing to keep the team competitive. Thank you for helping restore a moribund franchise to respectability.

And last — but certainly not least — thank you for knowing when it was time to walk away. The writing was on the wall already last year, when you struggled through the season after admitting your knee would never be the same. That story continued this offseason, when the Bears announced you would not return.

Bears fans’ worst fears jumped to the forefront when rumors swirled you might sign with the rival Minnesota Vikings, but that died down after they denied being interested. When the Vikings, famous for taking the washed-up leftovers of the rest of the NFC North, said no, it was obviously time to hang them up. But we all know that many players often ignore the signs with delusions of grandeur and wallow in misery at the tail end of their careers.

Bears fans like myself are immensely relieved today that we get to claim you as only our own. You played your entire career for one franchise — no small feat in today’s NFL. As a result, Chicago fans will put you alongside Ditka, Butkus, Payton, and Halas as greats that belong to them and them only. We don’t have to erase the memory of you limping around as a shadow of yourself in a strange uniform, like Bulls fans with Jordan, Packers fans with Favre, San Francisco fans with Montana, and so many others.

I am particularly grateful to not have to go through a Favre-like scenario, where some Green Bay fans are still angry at him years after he retired. Things seemed like they might be headed that way when you had some angry comments on your way out of town, but you softened your stance considerably just a few days later.

Right now it may seem like a bitter pill for you to swallow, but in time you will surely come to realize that this is for the best. You have the privilege few players ever enjoy: to go out (mostly) at the top of your game, having lead an elite defense for the franchise you defined one last time. Surely that’s better than toiling away for a bad team in a strange city for the last couple years!

So once again I say thank you, Brian Urlacher. Thank you for everything.

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Brian Urlacher: saying goodbye to a legend

| March 21st, 2013

It’s never easy to say goodbye.

Unfortunately, Chicago Bears fans find themselves having to do exactly that with Brian Urlacher. After two months of hoping he would be back with my beloved Bears for another year or two before riding gracefully off into the sunset, news broke yesterday that this will not happen. Chicago wanted Urlacher back, and Urlacher wanted to be back with Chicago, but the two sides split over a money difference.

Living legend

Brian Urlacher’s numbers speak for themselves. In 13 years with the Bears, he played in 182 games, amassing 1,353 tackles, 41.5 sacks, 12 forced fumbles, 16 fumble recoveries, 22 interceptions, and five defensive touchdowns. He was the 2000 Defensive Rookie of the Year, was named to eight Pro Bowls, was a first-team All-Pro four times, and won the 2005 Defensive Player of the Year award.

But Urlacher’s impact on fans like me far transcends the numbers.

He has been with the Bears since 2000, when I was 11 years old. To me—and many others—Brian Urlacher is the Bears. I literally cannot remember a time when Urlacher was not a member of my favorite football team. I grew up living in Southern California and South Florida in the days before it was easy to follow your team from afar (thank you, internet!), and was lucky if I got to watch the Bears play two or three times a year. I also didn’t start following football seriously until around 2003 or so, when Urlacher was already established as the face of the franchise.

I moved to Chicago in 2006, right when Urlacher was in his prime and leading one of the NFL’s best defenses on a Super Bowl-bound team. I will never forget him matching Reggie Bush stride for stride down the length of the field in the 2006 NFC Championship Game, or intercepting hated rival Brett Favre and returning the ball 85 yards for a touchdown in a 2007 rout of the Green Bay Packers. These memories and many more will be with me forever, and I am sure the same is true for many other Bears fans.

Mixed emotions

I’m still trying to process the idea that Brian Urlacher will not be a Bear.

For over a decade now, the franchise has been defined by their dominant defense — with Urlacher at the helm — carrying a marginal (at best) offense. With Urlacher gone and moves being made to improve the offense, that identity is changing in a hurry. Objectively, I can look at Chicago’s recent track record and see that might be a good thing, but the fan in me is finding it hard to say goodbye to what I have known and loved for so long.

My greatest fear is that Urlacher ends up pulling an Olin Kreutz and settles for less money to go play elsewhere for a year (or part of a year in Kreutz’s case) before accepting the inevitable and retiring. It would feel wrong to see Urlacher in any uniform other than Chicago’s. I cannot stand the thought of rooting against Urlacher in a football game.  Although this is extremely selfish of me, I truly hope Urlacher is unable to find a team willing to pay him what he wants this year. I want nothing more than for him to retire as a lifelong Bear, joining other Chicago greats like Walter Payton, Dick Butkus, and many others.

The first reaction of many fans will be anger directed at the Bears, especially after Urlacher dismissed Chicago’s offer of one year at $2 million as “a slap in the face.” Others will surely resent Urlacher for refusing to play for less than $3 million per year. Personally, I hold no ill will toward either party. They both have to do what they think is best for them, and in this case that means going in different directions.

Saying goodbye

Even as I struggle to bid my fond farewell, I can think back on Brian Urlacher’s career in Chicago and take solace in one thing. I had the privilege of watching an all-time great player, the second-best middle linebacker of his generation, play for my favorite team for 13 years. During that time, he provided consistently excellent play on the field without creating any problems off of it. I can’t ask for any more than that.

Thanks for the memories, Brian.

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