Brian Urlacher: My knee will never be the same, but I’m still playing

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The bad news for Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher is that he has resigned himself to his surgically repaired left knee never again being completely healthy. The good news — for the Bears’ defense, if not for Urlacher’s long-term health — is that Urlacher says he can and will play through it.

Urlacher told the Chicago FOX affiliate that his knee “just isn’t the same anymore. It’s never going to be the same.”

At the same time, Urlacher said, there’s no doubt in his mind that he can be on the field and play effectively when the Bears open the regular season on Sunday against the Colts.

“I’m playing Sunday,” he said, via the Chicago Tribune. “That’s a done deal. I think Lovie said it a month ago, Sept. 9.”

Urlacher injured his knee in the final game of last season and has spent the entire offseason trying to get better, with multiple surgeries, experimental treatments, rest and rehabilitation. Urlacher said he feels better now than he did when he experienced a setback early in training camp.

“The knee has been an issue, obviously, since last season,” Urlacher said. “Felt good going into training camp. I was excited about it. Then, I kind of aggravated my knee during training camp. Then I had surgery, a little minor surgery, and it feels good again now. That’s all that matters, I feel good going into the season. It feels much better now. I have been running around quite a bit, not with the team in practice, I have been taking it really slow like Coach [Lovie] Smith said we would. Everything they are going to let me do, I’ll do. There is going to be some restrictions on what I can do because they don’t want to overwork me too early. It’s a long season. There will be some restrictions but there won’t be restrictions in the game on Sunday.”

Still, Urlacher acknowledged that “there is no way” to be in football shape when a player is as limited during training camp and the preseason as he has been. And he realizes there’s a chance that his knee will slow him down to such an extent that he’d be a liability in the Bears’ defense.

“If I can’t run, I’m hurting the team if I am out there not being able to do what I am normally able to do,” Urlacher said. “I wouldn’t do that, plus I am hurting myself. If it hurts, I won’t be out there. But there is no pain right now.”

The big question is whether Urlacher can make it through 16 games — or even one game — without the pain returning.

37 responses to “Brian Urlacher: My knee will never be the same, but I’m still playing

  1. Completely forgot about his injury. Looked nasty last year, hope he gets better though. Always a class act

  2. The Bears’ last game of the 2011 season was at Minnesota. So Urlacher permanently damaged his knee playing the cellar-dwelling Vikes.


  3. I don’t think the Bears should offer him a contract for next year. He’s been a stud middle linebacker for a long time, but he just isn’t what he was.

  4. Injuries are a sad part of the game. You hate to lose Urlacher as a fan, but you gotta hope he can enjoy the rest of his life, too. He made it this long and gave us all some great memories–and I’m not even a Bears fan.

  5. I’ve seen this too many times with players playing past “their” time.

    Urlacher, will never be the same, he might not even make it through this season which leads me to think he should consider retiring before it’s too late.

    Urlacher has had a great career in the NFL, I don’t want to see him hobbling around at at young age like earl campbell and so many other NFL players. Its time to start a new chapter, if he’s married with children or not. Safety and YOUR future health comes first!

  6. Part of the problem might be that he’s been “knocking knees” with some of the hottest women in the U.S.
    Brian you lucky s.o.b., and that comes from a life-long Packers fan.

  7. I hate seeing injuries but its always been part of the game. He’s been a great player in Chicago for a number of years. Carried on the great tradition of MLB’s in the game.

  8. This guy’s ego is bigger than his talent at this point. After watching him get juked out of his jock numerous times over the past few seasons and missing open field tackles, he needs to hang the cleats up. Brian’s time as an above-average LB is over.

  9. And why are Da Bears being rated as NFC Central contenders?

    Cutler is a wimp and the Bears’ defense sucks.

  10. There is no cause for alarm.

    The Bears weren’t going to compete anyway… unless you mean compete for the first pick of next year’s draft.

  11. Lovie is a smart guy an his job is on the line. I like the set up Lovie…. He is baiting offensive coordinators all over the NFL to go after the strongest part of his defense….. Brain Urlacher…. an at the same time he is hiding the REAL weakness on that side of the ball. Urlacher will have a big year this season.. 5 INT’s … 4 fumble recoveries with 2 for touchdowns and 6 sacks. Nobody will see him coming… Watch This

  12. Sorry Bears fans, this is what it looks like when one of the great ones can’t do it anymore. He’s practically saying he knows it’s over, but then can’t admit it in the same breath. Sad.

  13. Caring Medical is one of the most highly acclaimed Prolo facilities in the world and is right in Chicago? If your knee is never the same again, it’s only because you never went there.

  14. The O line is the same unit that let Cutler get sacked 51 times last season. Without an effective defense the Bears are toast.

  15. This reminds me of a conversation I had with Dick Butkus on the set of NECESSARY ROUGHNESS about 15 years ago. Butkus talked to me about how badly you want to go out at the top of your game and how your own competitive drive can deceive you into playing past when you would. Butkus could hardly walk without pain at the time – years after his career ended. Unfortunately, the Halas family told him they would make it all better and take care of him AFTER the 73 season and not only lied to him but really did nothing for him after that.

    I pray for Urlacher that he is smart enough not to trade his mobility and ability to play with his children for “one more year.” I also hope the Bears have come a long away since stiffing Butkus.

  16. Wish Jahvid best was healthy. I think he could abuse the bears linebackers with his speed.

    Nobody on the lions can abuse the bears. That butt-whipping in their second meeting showed the bears absolute dominance over the lions.

  17. It’s a shame I hope he ends his career on his terms and not an injury he’s everything you want to see in an nfl player a true professional I wish my team had him

  18. Urlacher has always been a class act who gave his all on the field…While I’d like to see him perform at a high level this year, it sounds like he is nearing the end of a great career, and hopefully he will not let his pride cause him to injure the knee even further to where he is crippled later in life. Thanks to all the non-Bears fans offering their respect for his stellar play over the years, for those others who insist on hating, you are simply showing your ignorance.

  19. I don’t think there’s a real football fan who doesn’t love Brian Urlacher. But at this point … I’d like to see him walk away from the game while he can still walk.

    They use a lot of war analogies in football, but it’s a sport and its entertainment – it’s not a war. There’s no glory in destroying your long term health for the game.

    Mr. Urlacher – it’s time to think about being healthy enough to talk long walks with your wife, your kids, and your grandchildren. History will always see you as one of the very best to ever play the game.

  20. Prediction. Sub standard play, then the knee will be aggravated again, more missed games, another comeback, more sub-standard play, out more time. Then the Bears will let him go as a free agent. Nobody signs him. Sad really. Just retire Brian.

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