Brian Urlacher says he’s ‘not up to speed’ yet
BY JOE COWLEY email@example.com September 6, 2012 10:50PM
“If they want to test me, I’ll have more chances to make plays,” Brian Urlacher said of the Colts. | Seth Wenig~AP
Updated: October 9, 2012 2:49PM
At some point Sunday, the Indianapolis Colts will test Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher’s injured left knee.
After all, he has gone more than a month without practicing and is three weeks removed from arthroscopic surgery.
Urlacher has a message to any team looking to take him on.
‘‘If they want to test me, I’ll have more chances to make plays then,’’ he said Thursday.
But it wasn’t all tough-guy talk from the 34-year-old, who admitted that he’s in cramming mode.
‘‘No, I’m not up to speed,’’ Urlacher said. ‘‘I know the defense well, but I’ve got to get my technique down and work on some things. But I’m practicing still, and that’s all that matters to me. I’ll get it down. The more I’m out there, the more reps I’ll see, I’ll get better. I’m not as out of shape as I thought I would be, so that’s good.’’
Thursday wouldn’t be a day to play catch-up, either. Urlacher didn’t practice — coach’s decision.
‘‘I’m not worried, but there’s only so many plays that you have, and for me, and for us, I just don’t think he needs any more than a couple of days in a week,’’ coach Lovie Smith said. ‘‘He’s had trouble with the knee, so we’re not going to push the knee through the week. We’ve done that in the past with a lot of guys, though. This is no big issue at all.’’
No big issue? It actually has been the issue with Urlacher since he injured the knee in the 2011 season finale. He has had two known procedures on the leg since. The latest was the surgery Aug. 14.
While Smith has lightened Urlacher’s practice reps, Urlacher said there was no talk about limiting his game reps.
‘‘Just like every other game I’ve played, I plan on playing the whole game,’’ Urlacher said.
Just don’t ask him if he has tested the knee this week by going all out, making sure it would hold up.
‘‘I don’t even know if I’ve let it go in a game the last eight years, so practice we do what we can,’’ Urlacher said. “We run to the football as fast as we need to, and then we go. Same thing in a game. If I have to run full speed, I will. If I don’t, I won’t.’’
As far as the Colts testing Urlacher, teammate Lance Briggs was all but daring them.
‘‘They can try,’’ Briggs said, ‘‘but they will fail.’’