Is This the Last Opener for Urlacher as a Chicago Bear and More NFC North News
It's a good question given the last month's events.
When I started this gig, I wrote a few times about how I felt like Urlacher had probably two or three seasons left in him and that the Bears would do well to keep him around for a reasonable price.
This knee issue has made me rethink that stance a little. The big question, of course, is how that knee will hold up and whether he will still be functional as a player after this season is done.
Beyond that, though, is the question about how Urlacher handled this injury. A lot of people feel he should have the benefit of the doubt, and I can only assume he pushed the envelope a bit because he was entering a contract year and that contract is likely the last one he gets to play football.
So it's understandable that he tried to avoid surgery. I can't blame him for that.
It may make the team question his decision making. It may make them question his priorities.
What it shouldn't call into question is his dedication to the orange and blue jersey he wears.
Sure, he might be worried about his wallet for next year, but don't doubt for a second that he also doesn't want to win and that he is anything less than dedicated to his team and teammates.
Maybe it was foolish to put off surgery, but Urlacher did it in part because he wants to play and wants to win. He wants the Bears to have a shot at the Super Bowl.
You know what he brings to the table for the Bears and what he does for the defense—and we're not even talking sacks and tackles, but adjustments at the line and all the mental aspects which can't be taught and only learned through years of experience.
For that alone, if his knee is healthy—even if he's not in his prime anymore—I still think Urlacher should be in a Bears jersey at least one more year after 2012.
Here's what's up around the rest of the Big Black and Blue.
Jeff Dickerson of ESPN Chicago says that former Cal-Berkley Bear Chris Conte is very familiar with former Stanford Cardinal Andrew Luck.
Sean Jensen talks about the Bears finally having a No. 1 receiver in Brandon Marshall, over at the Sun-Tmes.
The Tribune's Dan Pompei answers some reader questions including the pass rush, Shea McClellin's progress and how the schedule gets shaped.
B/R columnist Melissa Heyboer discusses whether the Stafford-to-Johnson combo is the best in the business.
Chris McCosky of the Detroit News discusses whether Calvin Johnson's aim to shatter the 2,000-yard mark is too much to hope for.
Justin Rodgers at MLive.com says the Lions feel good about improving their run defense from 2011's lackluster numbers.
Continuing the family affair, CHTV & B/R scribe Brian Carriveau gives us five keys to the game for the Packers this weekend.
After a 2011 of drops and issues, Jermicheal Finley isn't over-thinking says the Journal-Sentinel's Tyler Dunne.
Tom Pelissero takes a look at the NFC North and where the Vikings are at in relation to the rest of the teams.
In non-game news, Doug Beldon over at the Pioneer Press tells us we should have an idea how the stadium will look really soon.
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