Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Is Brian Urlacher ready?

Source: Sports Grind Entertainment
"It's nobody's business."

That was the response of Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher to a question on ESPN Radio 1000 's Waddle and Silvy this morning in response to whether he had secret surgery on his knee in Germany during the offseason. The knee has been a source of constant problems for the 12-year veteran during this training camp, even causing speculation that he is washed up and the Bears need to replace him.

Let's start with that speculation: Despite the argument of the Sun-Times' Rick Telander that the Bears could have cut him before Sunday's season opener against the Colts, he needs to hang around, even if he isn't the same guy he was five years ago. He still plays hard. He is still the leader of a highly ranked defense, and he still contributes in much of the same way he has in the same tradition of great Bears middle linebackers going from Bill George to Dick Butkus to Mike Singletary.

He has been cleared to play by the Bears' medical staff. Even if he was blowing smoke on Waddle and Silvy by saying the sunburn he got the other day while out boating hurts more than his knee, he still knows his body better than anyone out there. There is a certain amount of trust one has to give a player to know when to say to when.

Plus, despite the good play of Nick Roach in his absence and the coverage of Lance Briggs, Urlacher still provides that spark that powers the Bears' defense. No Urlacher, and the Bears start falling even more than they did at the end of last season.

That said, the Bears' brain trust should perhaps bring Urlacher along a little slowly to start the season. If the Bears wind up blowing out the hapless Colts Sunday at Soldier Field, then he should be the first player to leave the game early. This will keep him fresh and ready for the big games, including the Thursday nighter in Green Bay on September 13.

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