Windy City Pressures in NFL

Eric Balkman@EricBalkmanCorrespondent IMay 21, 2010

Expectations can do funny things.

Like when a mediocre football team with a (sometimes) suffocating defense  goes out and makes a blockbuster trade for a franchise quarterback.

And then it signs an offensive coordinator that has been responsible for some of the most dynamic offenses of the past ten years, albeit not having a ton of success lately.

And to top it all off, they sign the most prolific pass rusher in the NFL.

So while many Bears fans may view it as a good thing that quarterback Jay Cutler, offensive coordinator Mike Martz and defensive end Julius Peppers are now in the fold in Chicago, clearly high expectations are already creating a burden, at least on the shoulders of one particular Bear.

It seems like it’s put up or shut up time in the Windy City, not only for the coaching staff, but for a now-healthy Brian Urlacher as well.

After former Bears running back and Hall-of-Famer Gale Sayers’ gave his critique of where the Monsters of the Midway are at right now, Urlacher gave his critique of Sayers’ career.

Here are the quotes:

Sayers: “Cutler hasn’t done the job. Urlacher, I don’t know how good he’s going to be coming back. He’s 33 years old. They need a couple wide receivers, a couple defensive backs. They haven’t done a good job. If Lovie doesn’t do it this year, I think he’s gone.”

Urlacher: “Let me ask you a question: ‘How many championships did Gale Sayers win? How many playoff games did he win when he played?’ None. None. None.”

Powerful stuff. Especially when you consider that Urlacher has won as many championships as Sayers. It’s all about rings, but I wouldn’t be taking on a living legend beloved to Bears fans everywhere if I were Urlacher.

Honestly, Urlacher knows Sayers is right. And if Chicago doesn’t get to the playoffs this year, guys are being fired and getting cut. Urlacher, who will turn 32 next week, also knows time is running out in his career. If the Bears don’t win now, they may never win while he is linebacking for them.

Like any war of words, there’s almost always a better way to handle it. Urlacher could have simply agreed with Sayers’ assessment and said that the Bears are much improved and have high goals that they are working on achieving this season.

But instead, he chose to shoot down a legend. And when you take aim at legends, you’ll find you become a pretty big target yourself soon enough.


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