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Urlacher unhappy with double standard

Posted by Larry Mayer on November 15, 2012 – 2:33 pm

With the NFL on a mission to raise awareness about head injuries and concussions, Brian Urlacher wonders why nothing’s ever said about offensive linemen diving at the legs of defensive players.

“They shouldn’t allow cut blocks because our knees are important to us too,” Urlacher said. “I know concussions are a big deal, but I think cut blocks are a big deal. But that seems to be OK with the NFL, so they’re not too concerned about safety.

“They’re concerned about long-term concussions, but immediately they are not concerned about your knees or your ankles or anything like that. I think that should be an issue.

“Concussions are taking care of themselves. It’s a big deal to everyone because of all of the older players coming back and saying they’re all messed up now. That’s definitely an issue, but I think the cut blocks need to be a big issue as well.”

Defensive lineman Israel Idonije agreed “100 percent” with Urlacher that there’s a double standard in the NFL when it comes to player safety.

“We all know that,” Idonije said. “It’s an offensive game and ultimately a lot of the rules are put in place to advance the offense and defensively we’re second fiddle at times. But that’s just the nature of the game sometimes.

“Hopefully the bodies that govern the rules and protections do a better job of taking the injuries that the players on defense consistently sustain and remove some of those elements from the game as well.”

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Recognition for Tillman well deserved

Posted by Larry Mayer on November 8, 2012 – 2:15 pm

While wondering why it has taken so long, Bears linebackers Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs are happy that teammate Charles Tillman is finally getting the recognition he deserves.

A year after being voted to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career, Tillman was named NFC defensive player of the month for October after winning two weekly awards and was praised by President Barack Obama during a nationally-televised interview the night before the election.

“Charles Tillman has been an integral part of our defense since he’s gotten here in 2003,” Briggs said. “He’s getting a lot of attention now. He should have been getting it for the past 10 years. He’s played at a high level. He’s an elite player and has always played at a high level. Now in Year 10 he’s taken it up to another level. He’s a defensive player of the year type player.”

In October, Tillman returned interceptions for touchdowns in back-to-back road wins in Dallas and Jacksonville, setting the Bears’ all-time record with eight defensive TDs. He also held Lions Pro Bowl receiver Calvin Johnson to three receptions for a season-low 34 yards.

Tillman then forced a career-high four fumbles in last Sunday’s 51-20 rout of the Titans, increasing his season total to seven and giving him 36 forced fumbles in his career, the most among NFL defensive backs since he entered the league in 2003.

Urlacher doesn’t know why Tillman didn’t receive the credit he deserves until the past two seasons.

“Peanut should be getting a ton of recognition,” Urlacher said. “He’s played great the last four or five years. Look at his stats. He’s caused [36] fumbles, has [32] picks. It didn’t happen in the last two years. He’s played 10 years. He’s had those picks and all those big plays his whole career. It’s not just the one year he’s done it. I’m glad he’s getting it now because he deserves it.”

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Peppers, Urlacher sit out practice

Posted by Larry Mayer on October 4, 2012 – 3:13 pm

Bears defensive end Julius Peppers (ankle), middle linebacker Brian Urlacher (coach’s decision) and rookie fullback Evan Rodriguez (knee) did not practice Thursday in advance of Sunday’s road game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Receiver Earl Bennett (hand) and running back Matt Forte (ankle) were limited.

For the Jaguars, receiver Laurent Robinson (concussion) and linebacker Daryl Smith (groin) did not practice; and defensive end George Selvie (knee) was limited.

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Urlacher in better game shape

Posted by Larry Mayer on September 28, 2012 – 4:43 pm

After playing three regular season games, Brian Urlacher is feeling more like Brian Urlacher.

The eight-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker has improved each week after missing the entire offseason program and all four preseason games with a knee injury.

“The more I play, the better I’ll get, the more in shape I’ll get,” Urlacher said Friday. “Preseason just ended for me. That’s the way I looked at it. I didn’t play the whole preseason. Now I feel like I’m finally in a little bit better game shape and running a little better.”

Urlacher is tied for the Bears’ lead with 21 tackles after recording a team-high eight tackles in last Sunday’s 23-6 win over the St. Louis Rams at Soldier Field.

“We know what kind of player he is right off the bat,” said defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. “That’s a guy that can take a game over, just with his presence, being on the field, with checks, calls and leadership. But now you can just see him getting better and better each week. He’s just a special, special guy to this defense.”

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Sideline incident no big deal to Urlacher

Posted by Larry Mayer on September 20, 2012 – 3:15 pm

Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher said Thursday that he didn’t pay any attention to the media coverage of last week’s sideline incident between teammates Jay Cutler and J’Marcus Webb.

“Everyone was asking me about it, but I still haven’t seen what happened, and I really don’t care what happened,” Urlacher said. “Whatever happened, it’s over now. We’ve moved on. It doesn’t seem to be an issue. Someone told me there is a mutiny against Jay in our locker room. If there was, I didn’t know about it. I guess we’re supposed to be mad at him.

“Things happen on the sideline. That’s just the way it goes. People get mad. I have gotten in spats with coaches and players as well. It happens. It’s going to happen in the NFL. People get pissed off and sometimes we do things we shouldn’t. It happened.”

Urlacher said it was easy for the Bears to turn the page and move forward following the incident.

“It’s just like a fight in practice,” he told reporters. “It’s in practice. Who cares? You guys probably see us fight in training camp every year. So what? After the practice is over, you’re in the locker room and you’re buddies again. It’s not a big deal.

“You lose your emotions out there sometimes and you get mad, but when it’s over with, it’s over with. We spend a lot of time around each other, so we better get rid of it quick. It’s going to be a long season if we don’t.”

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Urlacher confident in Bears offense

Posted by Larry Mayer on September 17, 2012 – 10:15 am

Brian Urlacher didn’t expect the Bears offense to struggle like it did Thursday night in Green Bay, but the middle linebacker remains confident in the unit after its lackluster performance.

Jay Cutler threw four interceptions and was sacked seven times while the Bears mustered just 168 total yards and 11 first downs in a 23-10 loss to the Packers at Lambeau Field.

“It was surprising to me,” Urlacher said Sunday night during his weekly appearance on FOX Chicago’s “The Final Word.” “To see the way we played the week before [in beating the Colts 41-21], we were all excited and we’re still excited about our offense. We’re going to be good.

“But they got pressure on Jay. They got some takeaways and we kind of got behind there early. We had to throw the football quite a bit. We ran it OK when we tried to. But they’re a good defense. They got a lot of takeaways early and it kind of put us behind there at the beginning of the game.”

After passing for 333 yards and two touchdowns four days earlier in the rout of Indianapolis, Cutler threw for just 126 yards versus the Packers. But Urlacher stands by his teammate.

“There’s no doubt that we can win with Jay at quarterback,” Urlacher said. “He hasn’t lost all of his ability in one week. He had a rough game. He got sacked a lot. He had a lot of pressure in his face.

Cutler has been widely criticized outside Halas Hall for yelling at and bumping J’Marcus Webb on the sideline after the left tackle allowed a sack to Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews.

“I’ve heard about it. I haven’t seen it yet,” Urlacher said. “I’ll say this: When the games are in that situation and you’re mad out there and things are going on, we do things we regret. I know I’ve done some things. I’ve said some things to my coaches I regret.

“I’m sure Jay regrets doing whatever he did. I haven’t seen it; I heard about it. We all do things in that situation we’re not happy or very proud about. Whatever he did I’m sure he wasn’t doing it to be malicious or anything like that and he probably regrets it. But sometimes you do things you don’t mean to do.”

Urlacher said that he doesn’t feel the need to talk to Cutler about the situation.

“Jay’s one of the leaders of our team as well if not the leader of our team,” Urlacher said. “He knows what he should and what he shouldn’t do. If he did something wrong, I’m sure he’s already addressed that situation with J’Marcus or whoever he needed to address it with and we’ll move past it. We’ll put it behind us.

“The only people who don’t let it go are the media. As players we move on past it because we have to. We have to get onto the next week. So whatever happened happened. We’ll put it behind us and move on.”

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Urlacher on track to start Thursday

Posted by Larry Mayer on September 11, 2012 – 4:12 pm

Brian Urlacher was held out of practice Tuesday, but Bears coach Lovie Smith revealed that the star middle linebacker will start Thursday night’s game against the Packers in Green Bay.

After missing more than a month of training camp and all four preseason games with a knee injury, Urlacher sat out one practice last week before playing in Sunday’s 41-21 season-opening win over the Colts. He was rested most of the second half after the Bears had built a 20-point lead.

“Brian is on track,” Smith said. “We have a plan for him. You’ve just got to trust the plan. Everybody has to. I feel pretty good; the plan came through last week. Hopefully it will this week.

“Brian is going to start the game this week. He’s in good shape. We don’t feel like there are any issues that he has dealing with the knee. Brian is just like any of the other players as I see it right now; short week, a little sore, but should be ready to go by game time.”

Cornerback Charles Tillman also did not practice Tuesday due to a lower leg injury he sustained in the first quarter against the Colts.

“Charles’ shin is getting better,” Smith said. “We have a little bit of time still before the game.”

Tight end Kyle Adams (shoulder) was limited, while tackle J’Marcus Webb (thumb) practiced without restrictions.

For the Packers, receiver Greg Jennings (groin), linebacker Terrell Manning (concussion) and running back James Starks (toe) did not practice; and cornerback Davon House (shoulder), linebacker Jamari Lattimore (ankle) and defensive end C.J. Wilson (groin) were limited.

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Tillman recovering from leg injury

Posted by Larry Mayer on September 10, 2012 – 4:33 pm

Although the Bears did not practice Monday, they were required to submit an injury report to the NFL because they play Thursday night against the Packers in Green Bay.

Had they worked out, cornerback Charles Tillman (shin) and tight end Kyle Adams (shoulder) would not have practiced and tackle J’Marcus Webb (thumb) would have been limited.

Brian Urlacher also would have been held out as a precautionary measure as he works his way back following arthroscopic knee surgery.

The star middle linebacker started Sunday’s season opener against the Colts after missing more than a month of training camp and all four preseason games. Urlacher sat out most of the second half after the Bears had built a 20-point lead.

“I’m pleased with the way he played his first time out,” coach Lovie Smith said Monday. “You have to look at it like that. It was his first action when they’re cutting you live and having to take on blocks. I think he did a decent job with it.”

Tillman injured his lower leg while blocking during a Colts punt early in Sunday’s game. He returned for a couple defensive series before being replaced by Kelvin Hayden, an eight-year veteran who signed with the Bears in April.

“Of course we want Charles out on the football field as much as possible,” Smith said. “We felt coming in that we had three starting corner types, saying Kelvin is one.

“Kelvin came in, did a good job, had a big hit, and made a couple big plays, so it was good to get him into the mix. We’ll need all three corners during the course of the year. But we need to get [Tillman] back out there.”

Smith said that he expects Tillman to play Thursday night in Green Bay, but the Bears coach conceded that his “glass is half-full always.”

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Marinelli a big Urlacher fan

Posted by Larry Mayer on September 7, 2012 – 2:32 pm

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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Urlacher practices without limitations

Posted by Larry Mayer on September 5, 2012 – 5:25 pm

Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher practiced without restrictions Wednesday as the Bears continued to prepare for Sunday’s season opener against the Indianapolis Colts.

Urlacher said Tuesday that his left knee was pain-free after practicing Monday for the first time since July 31. The eight-time Pro Bowler sat out the entire offseason program while recovering from a knee injury he sustained in last year’s season finale in Minnesota.

After participating in the first four training camp practices, Urlacher suffered swelling and soreness and ultimately underwent arthroscopic surgery Aug. 14.

Punter Adam Podlesh (hip) and safety Chris Conte (shoulder) were limited Wednesday. The Bears are hopeful that both will be able to play against the Colts after suffering their injuries Aug. 18 in a preseason win over the Washington Redskins.

When asked specifically about Podlesh’s availability, coach Lovie Smith said: “When you practice on a Wednesday, there’s a chance that you can go. We’ll monitor him still and see how he performs [Thursday]. But he’s been making steady progress to say the least.”

The only Bears player who did not practice was running back Lorenzo Booker, who sustained a head injury in last Thursday night’s preseason finale against the Cleveland Browns.

For the Colts, linebacker Pat Angerer (foot) and guard Joe Reitz (knee) missed practice, while running back Delone Carter (chest) and receiver T.Y. Hilton (shoulder) were limited.

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