Former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher has announced via Twitter that he will retire from the NFL after 13 seasons, all with Chicago. Urlacher comments, “I will miss my teammates, my coaches, and the great Bears fans. I’m proud to say that I gave all of you everything I had every time I took the field. I will miss this great game, but I leave it with no regret.” Urlacher became a free agent at the end of the 2012 season after failing to reach a deal to return Chicago. Urlacher was unwilling to play for a $2 million offer from the Bears.
Urlacher’s eight pro bowl selections, four all-pro selections, and franchise high 1,084 tackles will most likely get him into the Hall of Fame but I am not sure he is truly an elite player. On a team anchored by defense, Urlacher only appeared in the playoffs a hand full of times registering three wins, 32 tackles, four interceptions, and two sacks. Urlacher was very average against the run especially when ran on straight ahead. He also benefitted from good interior lineman who could stop the run and a Tampa 2 scheme; which had him dropping back in coverage a lot, masking his deficiencies. I would argue that Lance Briggs is just as good, if not a better player. Briggs in 10 seasons has amassed 884 tackles, 13 forced fumbles, 17 INTs, and 12 sacks compared to Urlacher’s 816 tackles, 8 forced fumbles, 17 INTs, and 37.5 sacks in his first 10 seasons*
What I am basically saying is that I believe Brian Urlacher is overrated.
He was voted the second most overrated player in the NFL in a Sport Illustrated poll in 2006 by other NFL players. Any decent player who plays middle linebacker for the Chicago Bears will always be revered by the fans and the media due to the history of the team and the success of the position. I simply believe he was put in a good situation with good teammates around him, a good defensive scheme, and good coaching. Simply put, when I think Dick Butkus, Jack Ham, Mike Singletary, and Lawrence Taylor and Derrick Thomas…I don’t think Brian Urlacher.
*Statistics from ProFootballReference.com