Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tough Break for Brian Urlacher

One reason to watch the Chicago Bears is Brian Urlacher. He is comparable in some ways to the great Mike Singletary--
Comparing tackles wouldn’t mean a whole lot because tackles are an unofficial league statistic. They’re generally compiled by coaches watching tape, and two coaches could see something completely different on the same play. If one player makes the tackle and a second comes in to finish the ballcarrier off, the second player could be given an assist, which counts as a tackle. It’s highly subjective. A better comparison would be to look at official statistical categories and at least see how Brian Urlacher and Mike Singletary stack up against each other. In nine seasons with the Bears, Urlacher has compiled 37½ sacks, 17 interceptions, seven forced fumbles and nine fumble recoveries while being voted to six Pro Bowls. At the same point in his career with the Bears, Singletary had 17 sacks, six interceptions, 12 forced fumbles and 11 fumble recoveries while also voted to seven Pro Bowls.

--but then again, there are those who would argue that there is no comparison. Either way, this is a tough break:
Finally healthy after two years, Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher launched his regular season by making a run at Aaron Rodgers, lowering his shoulder and plowing over the Packers quarterback in the first quarter.

His 10th season was off to a good start. And then, it was over.

Chicago's star linebacker went on injured reserve after having surgery Monday to repair a dislocated right wrist and will not be back this season, a major blow for a team with high expectations.

There was no immediate word from Urlacher other than a text message to the Chicago Tribune that said simply: "season is over." But coach Lovie Smith said Urlacher clearly was disappointed.

"He had put himself in position to have an outstanding year," Smith said. "He was playing well in the game before he went down with the injury. Even after the injury to his hand, the competitor in him wanted to continue to play. It's a tough break. There's no way around it, but he's been injured before and he's come back before."

I don't know if it is such a major blow for the Bears--he's an important player, but his being out does not kill their season. If the increased playing time for Hunter Hillenmeyer can fill the gap, Urlacher can come back next year and help the Bears. I don't think you can call a 31 year-old washed up, by any stretch of the imagination. Urlacher has ten years in the league, and the smarts to go with it. A wrist injury isn't the end, it's just a year off to let other issues heal stronger. You think he won't be mad next year? Motivated to play harder? Think again. Urlacher isn't wired to quit on anything.

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