Brian Urlacher fine with knee, not with playing time
BY MARK POTASH Twitter: @MarkPotash September 9, 2012 5:44PM
The Bears Brian Urlacher goes through warm-ups before their regular season opener against the Indianapolis Colts at Solider Field September 9, 2012. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
Brian Urlacher said his knee is fine. But his ego might have taken a bit of a hit Sunday.
After missing most of the offseason program, training camp and preseason because of knee injuries, Urlacher started as he promised in the Bears’ 42-21 victory over the Indanapolis Colts at Soldier Field.
‘‘I felt good,’’ Urlacher said in a brief post-game interview. ‘‘I had no issues moving around. No pain. That stupid brace was there, but that was about it. It was fun to be out there.’’
What was missing was impact. Urlacher was credited with two tackles and one pass defense and sat out most of the second half under orders from coach Lovie Smith. Urlacher, who missed just 14 plays last season, missed the final 36 against the Colts.
It’s a rare day when the Bears have so many impact plays on defense — three sacks, four takeaways and four tackles-for-loss — and Urlacher isn’t in on any of them. When Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck lauded the Bears’ defense in his post-game interview, Urlacher got fourth billing — behind Lance Briggs, Julius Peppers and Henry Melton.
‘‘I wanted to get back out there the whole time,’’ Urlacher said. ‘‘I was excited. We made a lot of plays on defense. It was just fun. I would rather be in there. But it was fun to watch our defense play like that.’’
Though his statistics were modest, Urlacher still makes an impact just by being on the field.
‘‘He’s the leader of our defense,’’ end Israel Idonije said. ‘‘Just hearing his voice out there, resetting the defense, calling the checks — it lets everyone get in that comfort zone and ... you play better.’’
Urlacher was pulled against his will after the Bears scored 10 point in the first four minutes of the third quarter to take a 34-14 lead. But he made it clear it was as a precaution and not because of injury.
‘‘That was a change-up,’’ Urlacher said. ‘‘I don’t like coming out of the game. But he’s the head coach. So I do what he says.’’