It seems like it's been going on for some time now, and the story continues to grow. Urlacher again missed Monday's practice due to his knee injury. Head coach Lovie Smith, however, has been consistent in saying that everyone will be ready for the opening game against the Colts on the 9th of September.
There has even been some wild speculation that the Bears could indeed cut Urlacher. While I think this is a bit of a long shot, it remains a possibility. Let's take a moment to imagine a world without Urlacher playing for the Bears. While that might be many people's worst nightmare, I contend that it wouldn't be the disaster some think it would.
Let's be honest; no one really knows how bad this knee injury is. The Bears and Urlacher himself have been tight lipped about it, as they always seem to be surrounding player injuries. The pro bowl linebacker is 34 and while he should still have at least one more good season left in the tank, one begins to wonder how much this knee injury will really affect his performance, should he make it back in time for the season opener.
Not that it really needs to be said, but here goes. Brian Urlacher is undoubtedly one of the best linebackers the Bears have ever had and has consistently been one of the league's top performers. He knows the defense inside out and brings his leadership qualities to the field and the locker room. There is no mistaking the fact that the Bears are a better team without him.
But all would not be lost if Urlacher didn't take to the field this season. Or at least it shouldn't be.
I am a firm believer that one man does not a team make. The Chicago Bears, like every other NFL team, should be able to cope with losing starters. They should have the depth that ensures there isn't that much of a drop off in performance. I will go on record now and say that the only Bears players whose loss would make a huge difference would be Jay Cutler and Jay Marshall. Without those two, I think the Bears really would struggle, but apart from that, losing anyone else shouldn't make that much of a difference, should it?
Give me an example where having Brian Urlacher on the field or any other player for that matter, has really been a game changer. I am not doubting what he brings to the table, but the linebacker position dictates that he can't really turn a game either way. No more so than anyone else. Sure, Urlacher can intercept the football, or lay a really devastating hit on a running back to knock the ball loose. But so can Nick Roach. So can Lance Briggs. So can Geno Hayes.
One area that Urlacher excels at is his ability to cover the field from sideline to sideline. But he's not exactly in his prime any more, and we still don't know how much this injury will disrupt his ability to carry on with such athleticism.
I think what is more likely is his ego not being able to recover from being dumped by Jenny McCarthy. In a statement that almost made me throw up on my shoes, McCarthy said:
"Brian and I have decided to turn our romance into an amazing friendship, I will continue to be the biggest cheerleader for him. Go, Bears!'
This break up with McCarthy was obviously the 'personal reasons' that kept Urlacher away from training camp for a few days earlier this month. I don't know why it's so hard for him to admit that he was clearly punching above his weight with McCarthy and it has left him a shadow of his former self.
If Urlacher plays badly for the Bears this season, you can rest assured it won't be his knee that is bothering him. The man is clearly suffering from a broken heart, that no amount of European medical vacations can heal.
Listen, if the Bears can't find a way to win without one player, then something is seriously wrong. The same goes for Julius Peppers. If he does have plantar fasciitis and it affects his performance, this mustn't be a problem that Chicago cannot overcome.
I hope Brian Urlacher plays this season, and I hope he plays well. He brings a wealth of experience to the field and is an excellent football player that the Bears have been fortunate to have for so long.
But if the worst was to happen and we don't see number 54 this season; please don't think the world is coming to an end.