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Urlacher remains on track for opener

Posted by Larry Mayer on August 28, 2012 – 5:15 pm

Bears coach Lovie Smith reiterated Tuesday that middle linebacker Brian Urlacher remains on track to return to face the Indianapolis Colts in the Sept. 9 season opener at Soldier Field.

“Just like we’ve said all along, I expect to see No. 54 out on the field next week in practice and playing against the Colts,” Smith said. “Brian is making a lot of progress.”

Urlacher underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Aug. 14. He sat out the entire offseason program while recovering from a knee injury he suffered in last year’s season finale in Minnesota.

The eight-time Pro Bowl participated in the first four training camp practices in Bourbonnais, but hasn’t worked out with his teammates since July 31.

The timetable for punter Adam Podlesh’s return is less certain. The sixth-year pro will miss his second straight preseason game with a hip flexor injury he sustained Aug. 18 against the Redskins.

“I have no idea when he’ll be back.” Smith said. “I’m not trying to give you the standard answer of, ‘Hey, they’re getting better,’ but he is getting better. He’s making progress. We’re seeing him do things. He can’t punt the ball right now. But we’re encouraged by his progress.”

Asked about playing in the season opener against the Colts, Podlesh said: “Nobody has ruled that out yet. It’s a possibility. [But] we’re going to be smart about how we get myself back on the field. It’s been going well. Every day has been positive, which is good.”


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Urlacher declines to discuss article

Posted by Larry Mayer on August 22, 2012 – 1:40 pm

Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher on Wednesday declined to confirm a newspaper report that he went to Europe in May or early June for an alternative treatment on his left knee.

“I heard about that,” Urlacher said when asked about the article. “Are there any quotes from me in there? I didn’t think so. Or anybody else for that matter? I didn’t think so. It doesn’t matter what I did or what I haven’t done. This is where we’re at now, so this is all that matters.”

As far as Urlacher and the Bears are concerned, nothing has changed since he addressed the media last Thursday, two days after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery. He still expects—as he did then—to be ready to play in the regular-season opener Sept. 9 against the Colts.

“Our goal is Sept. 9,” Urlacher said at the time. “Sept. 9 is all I care about. That’s my goal. That’s what we’re shooting for. The whole time that’s been our goal.”

Urlacher sat out the entire offseason program while recovering from a knee injury he suffered in last year’s season finale in Minnesota. The eight-time Pro Bowler participated in the first four training camp practices but hasn’t worked out with his teammates since July 31.

“This stuff is important, but that game [against the Colts] is more important than any of the stuff we’re doing right now,” Urlacher said last Thursday. “Same thing with the offseason. It’s important, but I want to be ready for the games that count.”


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Urlacher back with Bears, still sidelined

Posted by Larry Mayer on August 11, 2012 – 6:46 pm

Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher rejoined the Bears Saturday after being excused from the team since Monday for personal reasons, but he remained sidelined with knee soreness.

After participating in the first four training camp practices, Urlacher has been out since Aug. 1. He was on the field watching Saturday’s workout wearing his No. 54 jersey, a floppy hat and shorts.

“Brian Urlacher is back after he’s taken care of some business,” said coach Lovie Smith. “It’s good to get him back on the practice field even though he’s not practicing yet. He still has some soreness with the knee. Exactly when he’ll be back I can’t tell you that. But it’s good to get him back here.”

Urlacher saw teammate Brandon Marshall put on quite a show Saturday. After reaching high to catch two Jay Cutler passes over the middle, the Pro Bowl receiver hauled in touchdown passes from Cutler in the left corner and right corner of the end zone on back-to-back plays in a red-zone drill.

Rookie Alshon Jeffery caught three TD passes in the same drill, prompting Smith to rave about the Bears’ receivers: “It’s a good looking group before they play; just great size and athletic ability. They can all jump. They can be physical as far as blocking for the run. We haven’t had a group like this.”

The offense’s performance in Saturday’s practice was a vast improvement over how the unit played in Thursday’s 31-3 preseason-opening loss to the Broncos.

“We got better today,” Smith said. “Today is more what I envision our team being. It was a good offensive day; great work down in the red zone. We have good skill guys. We need to be able to protect and give Jay some time and we can move the ball this year.”

Smith revealed that second-year linebacker Dom DeCicco will be out “for a while” after suffering a pulled groin against the Broncos. Fellow reserve linebacker Jabara Williams also remains sidelined.


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Urlacher excused from Monday practice

Posted by Larry Mayer on August 6, 2012 – 8:14 pm

After missing four straight practices due to knee soreness, Bears star middle linebacker Brian Urlacher was excused from Monday’s workout for an undisclosed personal reason.

Asked by a reporter about Urlacher’s knee, coach Lovie Smith said: “He didn’t practice today, so when he practices we’ll be able to tell you more about that. For right now everything with Brian is like it was last time you saw him out here. He’s making progress and we’ll see once he gets back out on the football field.”

After injuring his knee in last year’s season finale, Urlacher sat out the entire offseason program. He participated in the first five training camp practices, but has been sidelined since last Tuesday. Smith is concerned any time a player is unable to practice, but he isn’t panicking about the situation.

“Brian Urlacher missing a few days isn’t going to hurt an awful lot, just like it won’t for some of our other veterans who miss a period here or there,” Smith said. “We have guys on schedule to be ready for the opening game of the season, so seeing a guy miss a little bit, I don’t put a whole lot into it.

“I just know that I feel pretty comfortable about [Urlacher] playing this year and eventually we’ll get him out on the football field when he needs to be before we play the Colts [in the season opener].”


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Urlacher remains out with sore knee

Posted by Larry Mayer on August 5, 2012 – 7:52 pm

Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher missed his fourth straight practice Sunday with a sore knee.

After injuring his knee in last year’s season finale in Minnesota, Urlacher sat out the entire offseason program. He participated in the first five training camp practices, but has been sidelined since last Tuesday.

“His knee is still a little sore,” coach Lovie Smith said Sunday. “He has some soreness with it. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get him back out here before long. But we’ll take our time with Brian.”

While Smith wants to get Urlacher back on the field, the coach isn’t too worried at this point.

“There is always concern when you have an injury at the end of the year and you miss some time in the offseason, but he should be OK,” Smith said. “It’s not like he really hurt it anymore. I assumed he would have some soreness and he would miss a few of these training camp practices.”

Urlacher wasn’t the only Bears player on the sidelines Sunday. Defensive end Julius Peppers, running back Matt Forte, and receivers Earl Bennett and Eric Weems all were among those who missed some or all of Sunday’s practice due to minor ailments.

Urlacher remains out with sore knee


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Urlacher wowed Bears scout from start

Posted by Larry Mayer on August 2, 2012 – 4:52 pm

John Paul Young will never forget the first time he saw Brian Urlacher play football.

Young was working as the Bears’ southwest area scout in 1999 when a one-day trip to see the University of New Mexico star turned into a longer excursion.

“The first time I was out there I stayed two more days because I didn’t believe what I was seeing,” Young said Wednesday during a visit to Bears training camp.

“He was at strong safety most of the time and free safety some of the time. But, lord have mercy, it didn’t take long to know he was just a wildcat linebacker. He also played tight end in the red zone and scored a bunch of touchdowns. You could tell he had ability. He had great feet, size and high-motor skills.”

Young, who is now retired and living in Texas, is thrilled with what Urlacher has accomplished since being selected by the Bears with the ninth pick in the 2000 NFL Draft. The star middle linebacker has been voted to eight Pro Bowls and was named NFL defensive player of the year in 2005.

“I felt very positive about him,” Young said. “I felt we had to have him. But believe me, me or nobody else including Brian Urlacher knew he was going to be this good.

“I’m extraordinarily pleased that he has been so productive. It makes you feel good when your kids [you've scouted] do well. All of us have enjoyed watching him now for more than a decade.”


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Urlacher pumped to return to action

Posted by Larry Mayer on July 25, 2012 – 7:32 pm

For the first time since he injured his knee in last year’s season finale, Brian Urlacher is expected to practice Thursday when the Bears conduct their first training camp workout in Bourbonnais.

“I feel good,” the Pro Bowl middle linebacker said Wednesday. “I’m excited to be here. I’m excited about our team that we have together and I’m just ready to start practicing tomorrow.”

While the Bears revamped their offense during the offseason, the veteran defense returns virtually intact. Asked what the unit must do to take the next step this year, Urlacher said: “Just be more consistent.

“We’ve been up and down the last couple years. We always get takeaways and we’re pretty good at sacks. But sometimes we’ll give up 150 yards rushing and 100 yards passing. Against Kansas City we were pretty good against the pass. [But] the run [defense] wasn’t very good for us. So we’ve just got to be consistent on both the running game and the passing game.”

Urlacher also reiterated to reporters that, on paper, this is the best Bears team he’s played for since he joined the organization as a first-round draft pick from New Mexico in 2000.

“I think we have the talent now to reach our expectations,” Urlacher said. “We always say it because it’s the right thing to say. But I really think we can do it this year. I mean, we’re stacked at every position.”


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