Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, whose previous involvement with the judicial system has been confined to tales of painted toenails in family court, extended an apparent professional courtesy earlier this year by sending a letter to a federal judge on behalf of a former Chicago politician who was awaiting sentencing on charges of mail fraud.
Urlacher requested leniency for former Alderman Ed Vrdolyak, saying that Vrdolyak is a “father figure.”
“It is clear to anyone lucky enough to know him that all his actions are motivated by good intentions,” Urlacher wrote, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Former Bears defensive tackle Tank Johnson, who has a much more intimate experience with matters of this nature, also sent a letter on behalf of Vrdolyak.
“During my tenure in Chicago,” Johnson wrote, “I put myself into many tough situations by making bad decisions. Mr. Vrdolyak and I developed a close relationship during this period. He mentored me and told me a better path to take. He told me things about life and family that I still hold dear today. He was pretty tough on me, and I benefitted from it.”
The irony, of course, is that Vrdolyak made at least one very bad decision of his own.
But the letters didn’t hurt. Vrdolyak received no jail time; he was instead placed on five years’ probation.