Brian Urlacher was everything you wanted out of a middle linebacker … and more.
To say he had size, speed, agility, and ability only scratches the surface. Urlacher’s body of work was that of a no-doubt-about-it, sure-fire, slam-dunk Hall-of-Fame player. That it came on the first-ballot (well-deserved, mind you) shows how much voters respected Urlacher’s accomplishments over his 13-year career.
And his message upon learning the news is oh, so Urlacher:
“I didn’t set out to play football and play to get in the Hall of Fame. That’s not why I played football. I played it because I loved it.” – Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher#PFHOF18 pic.twitter.com/2e93STgBA2
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) February 4, 2018
- ESPN Chicago’s Jeff Dickerson lays out Urlacher’s Hall of Fame résumé, and you’re going to want to check it out because the nostalgia will make you feel warm on a cold February day.s if you needed another reminder. Urlacher wasn’t just a great player, he transcended a defense. There were five times in which an Urlacher-led defense finished in the top-5 in points, four of which came when he was in the middle of Lovie Smith’s Tampa-2 defensive scheme. The other time came in 2001 when he was in inside linebacker in Dick Jauron’s system. It was the only year Jauron’s Bears defense ranked in the top half of the league in that category.
- Unlike the Baseball Hall of Fame, which calls its newest elected members to tell them the good news, Pro Football Hall of Fame President David Baker knocks on the hotel room door and greets the club’s newest members. But as Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times points out, Urlacher forgot to remove the “Do Not Disturb” sign from the door knob – something the Hall of Fame’s president clearly ignored before knocking on Urlacher’s door.
- David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune writes Urlacher’s Hall of Fame induction validated his spot among the league’s all-time bests. Not only did Urlacher have the necessary God-given talent and instincts to carve out a Hall of Fame career, he also had the drive. Whether it was any perceived sleight or any defeat that happened along the way, no one pushed themselves harder than Urlacher. That’s why the Bears were as good as they were when he was in the lineup. That’s why he was as good as he was throughout the duration of his 13-year career. And that is why he is now in the Hall of Fame.
- Over at CBS Chicago, Chris Emma paints Urlacher as the humble superstar who was hesitant to put himself in the category of the NFL’s all-time greats. Alas, Urlacher will join them in Canton. Urlacher’s road to the Hall wasn’t linear or traditional. He came from a small town in New Mexico, played a variety of positions on both sides of the ball in college, and started his professional career as an outside linebacker before an injury to Barry Minter pushed Urlacher inside and ushered in a new era of Bears football.
- In case you missed it, here is the class that will be joining Urlacher in Canton, Ohio, this August:
Oh what a night!
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) February 4, 2018
- Raise your hands if Rich Eisen introducing Urlacher as “the quintessential Chicago linebacker” gave you goosebumps. (Pause for dramatic effect.) Good to know it wasn’t just me.
- All things being equal, this is one of the all-time great Hall of Fame classes. The two best linebackers of their generation (Urlacher, Ray Lewis), the two best receivers (Randy Moss and Terrell Owens (finally!)), one of the greatest safeties ever (Brian Dawkins), as well as NFL legends of the past Jerry Kramer, Robert Brazile, and Bobby Beathard. This is as good as it gets.
- Let the record show we’re not blind to the very big football game that’s about to go down this afternoon in Minneapolis. Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times unearths a unique Bears tie to the Eagles’ front office. Dwayne Joseph was a Bears defensive back in the 1990s and was the Bears’ Assistant Director of Pro Scouting when the team drafted Alshon Jeffery in 2012. Joseph now serves as Philadelphia’s Director of Pro Scouting and had an influence in bringing Alshon Jeffery aboard. “DJ played a huge part [in signing with the Eagles], just knowing him from being in Chicago,” Jeffery said. “Just knowing his relationship [with Joseph], Eugene played a huge factor, and my agent now, Tory Dandy, knew him as well. It was just knowing how much they valued his opinion and things like that.”
- Pro Football Focus’ Austin Gayle has the free agents worth keeping an eye on in this Super Bowl, which includes some players the Bears should possibly put on their radar. Patriots running back Dion Lewis is the best of the bunch, but Patriots right tackle Cameron Fleming is worth an extended look. Fleming has filled in admirably for starter Marcus Cannon and his play could have priced himself out of New England’s range and into a starting role elsewhere. Pro Football Focus gave him a respectable 78.1 overall grade (25th best in the league) and his pass-blocking efficiency (95.5) ranked 28th among the 83 qualifying tackles.
- We can’t talk Super Bowl without mentioning the 1985 Bears. I’m pretty sure it’s illegal, or at minimum, highly frowned upon. In an interview with Macklin Stern of Complex.com, Hall of Fame middle linebacker Mike Singletary discusses a wide range of topics, including “respectfully” saying he and the rest of the ’85 Bears would have shut down Tom Brady and the Patriots. I mean, duh.
- Let’s leave this place with some necessary Urlacher love:
— Ron Rivera (@RiverboatRonHC) February 4, 2018
— Lovie Smith (@LovieSmith) February 3, 2018
— Zach Miller (@ZMiller86) February 4, 2018
I can now text and call a Hall of Famer!!! Wow!!
— ANTHONY ADAMS (@spiceadams) February 4, 2018