The Chicago Bears' began their offseason training program yesterday, and as Spongie offered up in the Bears' Den this morning, there is a lot of player reactions about how strange it is to be working without Brian Urlacher. The thirteen-year veteran is still a free agent after turning down the Bears one year, $2 million dollar offer, and frankly there has been little to no speculation as to #54's next move.
The only real news is the continued speculation about a possible Urlacher return to Chicago. Bears' chairman George McCaskey, who has had at least one conversation with Urlacher since the fateful decision was made to move on. McCaskey stated that he "wanted to wait a little bit because (he) figured there would be a little emotion" involved, but did say that Urlacher was "very gracious" during their conversation.
When directly asked about a possible Urlacher return, McCaskey said that "it's up to the market and Phil and Marc... Phil said it's a process and we'll go through it and see what happens." That may just be media-speak for a polite "no thank you," but that statement does at least leave open the possibility of an Urlacher return this season. Despite Urlacher's initial scorched earth and bruised ego media tour after his announced departure, little has been heard from him since, which may lead to Urlacher re-assessing his future prospects as an NFL player.
But do the Bears even need him at this point? We really don't even know what kind of player Urlacher is at this stage of his career between getting older (and slower) and being more injury-prone. He obviously can still read quarterbacks and manage his gap-responsibility in the running game, but is he still effective if healthy? With the new additions of James Anderson and D.J. Williams, Phil Emery managed to re-make the linebacking corps on the cheap with solid veterans capable of playing at a high level. But is that enough, with still no viable backup linebacker options outside of... Blake Costanzo, Patrick Trahan, or J.T. Thomas?
So here's the proposal for you: if the Bears manage to clear out some more cap space - maybe a Charles Tillman or Tim Jennings extension - and Urlacher was willing to accept the one year, $2 million dollar contract, would you want Emery to bring back? There would be no guarantees of starting or playing time, just "accept the contract and see what happens." Hit up the poll with your vote, and the comments section to explain yourself.