Bears defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli is thrilled to have Brian Urlacher back on the field after the star middle linebacker missed more than a month of training camp with a knee injury.
Urlacher, an eight-time Pro Bowler, practiced without restrictions Friday after a day off Thursday and is slated to start Sunday’s season opener against the Indianapolis Colts at Soldier Field.
“I think his stats and his play speak Hall of Fame,” Marinelli said. “That’s a statement. But it’s the intangibles that we see every day. He’s an unbelievable leader, an incredible leader. He’s smart, understands the defense. All of those things make him special.”
Urlacher, 34, and fellow linebacker Lance Briggs, 31, have both continued to play at a Pro Bowl level despite being on the wrong side of 30.
“We’re older now and we’re smarter and we know how to play the game a little better I think and play it smarter,” Urlacher said. “Whatever we have lost in athletic ability or speed or whatever, I think we make up for it with our mental game just like most players do when they get older. They get smarter as they play longer and hopefully get better as they get older.”
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