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Bears punishing Packers’ Jermichael Finley to fullest extent of the jaw

Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher (right) has had plenty help from deep talented defensive line.  |  Phelan M. Ebenhack~AP

Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher (right) has had plenty of help from a deep and talented defensive line. | Phelan M. Ebenhack~AP

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Updated: January 15, 2013 11:43AM



After Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley said Wednesday that losing Brian Urlacher wouldn’t hurt the Bears, Lance Briggs continued the Bears’ unusually aggressive pregame chatter with a clear and simple response in defense of his teammate.

‘‘He’s an idiot,’’ Briggs said of Finley. ‘‘Just suit up and play ball.’’

Briggs fired his shot at Finley a day after Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall elaborately explained his dislike of the Packers, particularly defensive backs Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams.

Urlacher himself responded to Finley’s criticism of him during an interview Thursday on Sirius XM NFL Radio.

‘‘Just like a couple of years ago, I think, he tore his ACL and the Packers were actually better without him,’’ Urlacher said during that interview. ‘‘You know, they won the Super Bowl.’’

Meanwhile, Finley attempted Thursday morning to use his Twitter account to clarify the comments he’d made about Urlacher to Fox Sports Wisconsin a day earlier.

Finley had said that Urlacher was ‘‘playing a little slow out there.’’

“I don’t think they’re losing too much if he’s out,’’ he told Fox Sports Wisconsin. ‘‘Putting another guy in might help them a little.’’

On Thursday, he wrote on Twitter: ‘‘Urlacher is a hall of fame player and person. I meant no disrespect to him in previous comments. I was simply trying to explain that his replacement in the lineup is a good player as well.’’

None of Finley’s teammates appeared to come to his defense. Only receiver Greg Jennings came close to stepping into the war of words.

‘‘Hey, let [them] hate us. We hate them, too,’’ Jennings told reporters in Green Bay. ‘‘That’s the bottom line.’’

Trash talk won’t impact Sunday’s outcome much, but given the lopsided nature of this series in recent years, even fabricated momentum is better than no momentum at all for the Bears.

Including the NFC title game after the 2010 season, the Packers have won eight of the last nine games against the Bears and will step into Soldier Field on Sunday as the hotter team. While the Bears won seven of their first eight, the Packers have won seven of their last eight.

The Bears have been uncharacteristically brash this week, deviating from their diplomatic and measured tenor in public comments.

Finley? Well, he’s no stranger to foot-in-mouth disease, generating controversy for a team that — like the Bears — prefers to fly under the radar. Most notably, Finley has made puzzling comments about his relationship with quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who’s revered by Packers
fans.

On Wednesday, Finley set his misguided sights on another beloved franchise player, and the Bears weren’t having it.

After Urlacher pointed out the Packers won Super Bowl XLV while Finley was sidelined for most of the season with a torn meniscus, he insisted he’d be thrilled to pick up a championship ring while on the sideline.

‘‘I hope we can duplicate that as well because it won’t hurt my feelings if we go on and win the Super Bowl without me like they did without him,’’ Urlacher told Sirius.

In Green Bay, players were largely absent Thursday during the time reporters are allowed in the locker room, and Packers coach Mike McCarthy wasn’t asked about all the verbal barbs.

Bears coach Lovie Smith noted Wednesday that ‘‘talking just doesn’t get an awful lot done,’’ although he didn’t have any issue with Marshall’s mini-rant.

Briggs reiterated all that Marshall said, although he, too, acknowledged words aren’t as important as impact plays.

‘‘His comments aren’t going to change the outcome of the game — they’re not going to help him or anybody play better,’’ Briggs said. ‘‘It’s a person’s opinion. It really doesn’t matter — it doesn’t change the way we’re going to play or change anything.’’



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