The Chicago Bears added their 28th name to the Hall of Fame with perennial All-Pro linebacker, Brian Urlacher.
He becomes the first Bear to be inducted since Richard Dent in 2011, and the most recent first-ballot Hall of Famer since Mike Singletary was inducted in 1998.
The Bears drafted Urlacher with the ninth overall pick in 2000 out of the University of New Mexico. He transitioned from safety to linebacker seamlessly and earned Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.
His best play came when Lovie Smith arrived as head coach in 2004. Smith’s signature Tampa 2 Defense required sublime play from the middle linebacker, and Urlacher supplied just that by racking up 1348 tackles, 41.5 sacks, 22 picks, 12 forced fumbles, 16 fumbles recoveries, and two touchdowns. Urlacher was also honored with eight Pro Bowl selections, five All-Pro selections, and a spot-on the 2000’s All-Decade Team.
While stats and honors can be thrown around at nauseam, Urlacher represented exactly what Chicago Bears football is, especially from on the defensive side of the ball: relentless work ethic, fierce tenacity, and the penchant for bone-crushing hits.
His name falls in line with Bears greats such as:
- George Connor
- Bill George
- Dick Butkus
- Mike Singletary
All of those players unsurprisingly, also own busts in Canton, Ohio.
Urlacher will receive his gold jacket on August 4th when he is officially enshrined.
Considering his current popularity in Chicago, don’t be surprised if the Chicago Bears are selected to participate in the Hall of Fame game on the following day, August 5th.