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Brian Urlacher: ‘I really think we can do it this year’

Brian Urlacher Bears minicamp June. | Getty Images

Brian Urlacher at Bears minicamp in June. | Getty Images

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Updated: July 25, 2012 3:01PM



BOURBONNAIS – Brian Urlacher contract talk is a dead topic.

All but given the last rites by Bears general manager Phil Emery on

Tuesday, and likely not seeing a resurrection until after the 2012

season concludes.

The 34-year-old middle linebacker and poster boy for all things Bears

over the last 13 years, seems content with that that idea, instead

focused in on the here and the now.

What that means for Urlacher is the days of coming into training camp

and pretending that the Bears looked like a contender on paper are now

over. As far as Urlacher’s concerned, with the talent that’s been

assembled for 2012, he can both speak it and believe it.

“Yeah, I think we have the talent now to reach our expectations,’’

Urlacher said.

Now? Somewhere former GM Jerry Angelo has to be cringing with that statement.

“We always say it because it’s the right thing to say, but I really

think we can do it this year,’’ Urlacher continued. “I mean we’re

stacked at every position. I mean anytime you add [receiver] Brandon

Marshall, [running back] Michael Bush, our defense is healthy again,

which is a big deal for us, and then [quarterback] Jay [Cutler] being

back healthy is a big deal, too.’’

Cutler’s health is in fact 1A on the list of “What the Bears need to

make the playoffs,’’ but go ahead and put down Urlacher’s health as

1B.

The good news? The damaged left knee he suffered on Jan. 1, against

the Minnesota Vikings is fully recovered with no limitations placed on

him one day before practices begin.

“Yeah, as far as I know [I’m practicing], yeah. It feels good,’’

Urlacher said of the injury that limited him in the offseason. “Every

practice that they let me go, I’ll be going. [Head coach] Lovie

[Smith] gives us days off sometimes when we don’t expect them, so

we’ll see how that goes.’’

Before the injury at the end of the 2011 season, Urlacher was doing

what Urlacher does. That meant 135 tackles, three picks, 10 tackles

for losses, and a lot of fans wearing the No. 54 jersey in the stands.

So that’s why the idea that the Bears would be willing to move on

without him after this season is laughable. Especially, if he

continues to patrol the middle of the field at such a high level.

While Urlacher has said that there were no talks about a contract

extension in the offseason, that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. It will

likely be a hurdle now crossed in the offseason.

“I’m content to focus on the team’s movement towards its goals,’’

Emery said of the Urlacher contract talk. “Each and every contract

situation is unique of itself. What we do as a personnel department

along with our coaches is keep our eyes on the big picture. And our

big picture right now is to get on the field and earn our place in the

NFL every day.’’

All well and good, but Urlacher has more than earned that place, as

well as his place in Bears folklore.

“I’ve had good conversations with Brian,’’ Emery continued. “That’s a

fine human being. He’s obviously, if not our team leader, one of our

top team leaders. Brian Urlacher’s been a great Bear and a great NFL

football player. Yes, I’ve talked to him. And I’m excited about Brian

this season.’’

Urlacher’s excited, too. Excited about being part of a team that looks

balanced enough to hurt the opposition both offensively and

defensively. What he won’t get caught up in, however, is the idea of

at his age and contract status, there is a sense of urgency to win it

all this year or watch the window close.

“There is a sense of urgency every year,’’ Urlacher added. “It’s a new

team every single year. There are guys gone, guys get cut that you

don’t expect to get cut, or traded, so every year there is a sense of

urgency. No different than any other year.’’



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