Bears' Brian Urlacher Deserves Benefit of the Doubt

Ernest Shepard@@ernestshepardAnalyst IIISeptember 5, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 1: Brian Urlacher #54 of the Chicago Bears looks on during the game against the Minnesota Vikings on January 1, 2012 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Brian Urlacher must be given the benefit of the doubt when it comes to how he is dealing with his knee injury. He had a successful arthroscopic knee procedure performed just weeks ago and looks to return on Sunday versus the Indianapolis Colts.

The Chicago Bears middle linebacker may not have played a single down in the preseason, but his body of work has left us little reason to think he will struggle Sunday.

Perhaps I were among the minority in believing that Urlacher does not need to play but a few reps, if any at all during this preseason.

Urlacher is a future Hall of Famer and the face of the Bears’ defense, if not the entire franchise.

As a known NFL commodity, he did not require many reps of preseason football to get into playing shape. After all, it is not about what happens in exhibition games, it is about being ready when it counts.   

If it were up to me, a healthy Urlacher would not have played but a mere quarter, collectively this preseason. They are somewhat meaningless games for someone with Urlacher’s resume.

Why put Urlacher at risk in games that do not count in the standings?

We have seen what he can do on the football field, the only thing he needs to do is continue to get into football shape and avoid getting frustrated when there are questions regarding his knee and overall readiness.

I expect him to put the pedal to the floor and play as hard as only Brian Urlacher can.


Urlacher seems motivated.

The Bears are optimistic for the season, as they are a legit Super Bowl contender and that will serve as motivation to Urlacher.

Given the improvements the Bears have made on the offensive side of the ball, they appear anxious to end their Super Bowl drought. The trade for receiver Brandon Marshall, drafting of Alshon Jeffery and the signing of Michael Bush give the Bears a multitude of firepower.

This marks the first time in Urlacher’s career that he has a Pro Bowl quarterback (Jay Cutler) and receiver (Marshall) in the same season.

For once, Urlacher and the Bears’ defense do not have the stress of carrying the team through its offensive woes, thus he should be very motivated.


Urlacher’s body of work has a void in it.

He may have the Pro Bowl appearances (eight), the NFL All-Pro accolades (five), but a Super Bowl is missing from his repertoire.

I believe that will push him to be in as great of shape as possible by the season opener. Listening to Urlacher, he desires winning the Super Bowl. It would be a perfect way to cap off his career. Playing in Super Bowl XLI had to be a great experience, but not winning it only whets his appetite.

We have to trust his desire to get back to the Super Bowl and fill the void.


We must have blind faith.

Urlacher’s body of work and motivation are valid reasons why we should give him the benefit of the doubt, another reason, is blind faith.

Chicago sports fans are tortured souls who pessimistically live and die with our teams. We want our teams and favorite players to do well but we expect the worse.

In Urlacher’s case, he has had his share of injuries. He has missed 22 games in his NFL tenure and his worst injury was a dislocated wrist he suffered during the 2009 season.

Given the evidence, we must have blind faith that Urlacher will be ready to play, not only on Sunday, the entire season.

If he plays to the level that we have grown accustomed to during the Colts’ game, he will earn our blind faith. Until then, we must give him the benefit of the doubt.