Almost every article that has been published in the 24 hours since Brian Urlacher announced his retirement has included the words “future Hall of Famer.” But one veteran NFL personnel man says he’s not so sure about that.
Former Colts and Giants G.M. Ernie Accorsi said on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio that he isn’t convinced Urlacher is a sure-thing lock for Canton.
“I think he’s a borderline Hall of Famer,” Accorsi said. “I don’t know that he’s a definite Hall of Famer. I think there is a host of them, like Willie Lanier, that were dominant players. He was good, but I wouldn’t put him in that level.”
Asked if he’d put the “guaranteed Hall of Famer” label on Urlacher, Accorsi said he wouldn’t. Instead, Accorsi said, Urlacher was a somewhat limited player who doesn’t deserve to be mentioned among the all-time greats.
“I definitely wouldn’t,” Accorsi said. “That’s my opinion. I don’t think he’s a guarantee. I mean, he may get in because he got a lot of publicity and he was a hard player. But his span that he covered was really restricted. Now a lot of those middle linebackers were in those days. They didn’t have three or four wide receivers so they stayed on the field for three downs. They might be off today. But, no, I certainly don’t have him in [Dick] Butkus or Ray Lewis [category]. And I don’t think he should be in there, really with [Joe] Schmidt and [Ray] Nitschke and those guys, either.”
Accorsi may be right, but it’s possible to say that Urlacher falls short of the greatness of middle linebackers like Butkus and Lewis, but to still say he belongs in the Hall of Fame. And that’s exactly what I would say: Urlacher doesn’t have a case to be the greatest middle linebacker ever. But he has a strong case for the Hall of Fame.