Urlacher retires

Bear Down: Remembering the best moments from Brian Urlacher's career

2013-05-22T19:15:00Z 2013-05-23T23:56:04Z Bear Down: Remembering the best moments from Brian Urlacher's careerMatt Erickson Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
May 22, 2013 7:15 pm  • 

To celebrate the Hall-of-Fame career of an all-time Bears great, we take a look back at the top five moments in Brian Urlacher's career — with four honorable mentions — for No. 54:

5. The 2005 Bears defense was the stuff of legends. While it didn't quite capture the hearts of millions the way the 1985 Bears defense did, it was the league's force to be reckoned with — buoyed, of course, by No. 54. Urlacher had 121 tackles, made the Pro Bowl and was named the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year, joining two-time winner Mike Singletary as the only Bears to win one of the league's highest honors.

4. Oct. 7, 2001: After a 1-1 start, the Bears looked like they might be just average. But in Week 4 against the Falcons, Urlacher set the tone for a stretch of eight wins in nine games and, ultimately, a 13-3 record. Against Atlanta, with the Bears up 17-0 in the fourth quarter, Urlacher sacked Michael Vick and forced a fumble. The Falcons recovered it, but two plays later, Vick was sacked again, and this time Urlacher was there to pick up the loose ball and rumble 90 yards for the score.

3. Nov. 4, 2012: Urlacher had one interception his last season. Against the Titans in Nashville, the Bears turned in a 51-20 shellacking to improve to 7-1. Up 14-2 in the first, with the Titans at midfield, Urlacher picked off Matt Hasselbeck, jumped over a diving defender near the far sideline and beat a handful of others to get to the end zone. It was the Bears' seventh pick-six score in their eighth game of the season, and almost appropriately in a throwback to the Bears' defense of old, it was a 46-yard gallop.

2. Dec. 23, 2007: It had been a rough stretch in a rough season. At 5-9 when the 12-2 Packers came to town, no one expected a one-sided beatdown by the Bears. With the Packers driving in the fourth quarter and in the red zone, Urlacher picked off Brett Favre and sprinted 85 yards to pay dirt while the Soldier Field crowd went bananas — one of only a few highlights in a rough season the year after playing for the Lombardi Trophy. It was the first interception return touchdown of Urlacher's career.

1. April 15, 2000: There are no two ways about it, and there are probably no 54 ways about it. The 2000 NFL Draft was a great day for Urlacher, but it was an epic day for the Bears when they drafted him with the ninth pick in the first round. The New Mexico product would go on to carve out a new standard for NFL linebackers, combining defensive back speed with wide receiver agility and old-school Grabowski-style linebacker power in the same vein as Mike Singletary and Dick Butkus before him.

Honorable Mention

Sept. 3, 2000: Just 51 seconds into his first game, Urlacher recorded his first NFL tackle. He wouldn't have another for the rest of the game, and the Bears lost 30-27 to the Vikings in Minneapolis. A one-tackle stat line is nothing to write home about, but that tackle was the first of more than 1,000 to come.

2001 Pro Bowl: After his rookie season, Urlacher's peers voted him to the Pro Bowl as an alternate. He would go on to play in the NFL's all-star game another seven times.

2001 Defensive Rookie of the Year: Urlacher set Bears rookie records with 124 tackles and eight sacks, while fighting through a rib injury part of the season. His year included a Defensive Player of the Month award and culminated in the Defensive Rookie of the Year award.

Feb. 4, 2007: Urlacher had 10 tackles and did so from sideline to sideline in the Bears' 29-17 loss to the Colts in Super Bowl XLI.

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