Brian Urlacher


Brian Urlacher

Infobox NFLactive


caption=Urlacher addresses the media in a post-game interview
currentteam=Chicago Bears
currentnumber=54
currentposition=Linebacker
birthdate=birth date and age|mf=yes|1978|5|25
birthplace=Pasco, Washington
heightft=6
heightin=4
weight=258
debutyear=2000
debutteam=Chicago Bears
highlights=
* 6x Pro Bowl selection (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007)
* 4x All-Pro selection (2001, 2002, 2005, 2006)
* 2000 Male Athlete of the Year (UNM)
* 2000 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year
* 2001 Football Digest Defensive POY
* 2005 AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year
* Defensive Player-of-the-Week (4)
* Special Teams Player of the Week
* NFL Rookie Defensive Player of the Month (10/2000)
* Brian Piccolo Award (2007)
* Led the NFL in fumble return yards in 2001
* Most tackles in a season (UNM)
* Most tackles in a season (Bears)
college=New Mexico
draftyear=2000
draftround=1
draftpick=9
pastteams=
* Chicago Bears (2000-"present")
statweek=17
statseason=2007
statlabel1=Tackles
statvalue1=838
statlabel2=Sacks
statvalue2=37.5
statlabel3=INTs
statvalue3=15
nfl=URL059326

Brian Keith Urlacher (pronEng|UR lack er) (born May 25, 1978 in Pasco, Washington) is an American football player for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League. Urlacher, an alumnus of the University of New Mexico, is a six-timecite web |url=http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/UrlaBr00.htm|title= Brian Urlacher statistics] Pro Bowl player and has established himself as one of the NFL's most productive linebackers.He is regarded as one of the best defensive players in the NFL, winning the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Award in 2000 and the NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2005, becoming only the fifth player in NFL history to win both awards.cite web |url=http://www.chicagobears.com/team/player.asp?player_id=79|title=Chicago Bears Roster — Brian Urlacher]

Early life

Brian Urlacher was born to Brad and Lavoyda Urlacher in Pasco, Washington. The family broke apart in the late 1980s, and Lavoyda gained custody of Urlacher and his siblings.cite web |url=http://www.jockbio.com/Bios/Urlacher/Urlacher_bio.html|title=JockBio: Brian Urlacher] Lavoyda then moved the family to Lovington, New Mexico, where she was eager to give the family a new start. While his mother worked several jobs to keep the family afloat, Urlacher spent his free time exercising. Over time, Urlacher developed a sincere interest in football. Urlacher combined his brute force, agility, and speed to lead the Lovington High School Wild Cats to a 14-0 season.cite web |url=http://www.chicagobears.com/team/player.asp?player_id=79|title=Chicago Bears Roster — Brian Urlacher]

College career

Although Urlacher was partial to attending Texas Tech University, his dreams were cut short after the university did not offer him a much needed scholarship. The only two Division I schools that expressed genuine interest in him were the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State. He ultimately chose to attend the University of New Mexico.cite web |url=http://www.jockbio.com/Bios/Urlacher/Urlacher_bio.html|title=JockBio: Brian Urlacher] Urlacher did not get a lot of playing time as a freshman in 1996, as head coach Dennis Franchione's rebuilding plan for the team relied heavily on upperclassmen.cite web |url=http://www.jockbio.com/Bios/Urlacher/Urlacher_bio.html|title=JockBio: Brian Urlacher] He played more as a sophomore when the University of New Mexico finished with a 9-4 and captured the Western Athletic Conference Mountain division title, but eventually lost 41-13 to Colorado State University in the WAC Championship Game. Despite the loss, the Lobos were invited to the Insight.com Bowl, where they lost to the University of Arizona 20-14. [cite web|url=http://www.dailylobo.com/media/storage/paper344/news/2003/01/21/Sports/Lobo-Fans.Crowd.Bowl.Game-348067.shtml?norewrite200612071906&sourcedomain=www.dailylobo.com
title=Lobo fans crowd bowl game
]

Following the 1997 season, Franchione left the university to coach for Texas Christian University. Rocky Long, an alumnus of the university and former defensive coordinator for UCLA, helped Urlacher achieve national recognition. Under Long’s tutelage, Urlacher became a “Lobo-Back,” a cross between a linebacker and safety, and garnered much success in Long's 3-3-5 defense scheme. [cite web|url=http://golobos.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/long_rocky00.html|title=Player Bio:Rocky Long] [cite web|url=http://www.unmalumni.com/mirage/fall2004/bighitter_print.htm
title=The Big Hitter
] He recorded 422 tackles, the third most in the school’s history, three interceptions, eleven forced fumbles and sacks. He was also the team’s return specialist and clutch wide receiver, catching seven passes for six touchdowns.cite web |url=http://www.chicagobears.com/team/player.asp?player_id=79|title=Chicago Bears Roster — Brian Urlacher] Urlacher also earned several honors during his collegiate career, named an All-American by Sports Network, Walter Camp, Football Writers Association of America, and the Associated Press. Entering the 2000 NFL Draft, Urlacher was considered one of the nation's most talented college prospects. [cite web|url=http://archive.profootballweekly.com/content/archives/draft_1999/prospects_lb_122799.asp
title=Linebackers: Arrington's athleticism, instincts make him the top LB prospect
]

Professional career

On the rise

During the 2000 NFL Draft, Urlacher was selected by the Chicago Bears with the ninth pick in the first round. Early in the season, Urlacher briefly lost his starting position to Rosevelt Colvin. [cite web|url=http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FCL/is_6_31/ai_81789945
title=Meet Urlacher's trusty sidekick - Rising Star: Rosevelt Colvin
] However, an injury to Barry Minter forced Urlacher to fill in as the team’s starting middle linebacker. After a productive performance against the New York Giants, he became an instant hit, recording over 15 tackles in each of his next two games. Not even a minor injury could prevent Urlacher from claiming the 2000 NFL Rookie of the Year Award, along with an invite to his first Pro Bowl. Over the next two years, Urlacher distinguished himself as one of the league's most productive linebackers by recording 313 tackles, fourteen sacks and five interceptions. [cite web|url=http://www.sptimes.com/2002/12/29/Bucs/High_profile____Brian.shtml|title= High profile -- Brian Urlacher]

Under the leadership of new coach Dick Jauron, the Bears surprised many with their performance during the 2001 NFL season. Urlacher helped lead the Bears to three come from behind victories, and two shut-outs. During week fifteen of the 2001 season, a fake field goal allowed Bears' punter Brad Maynard to throw a game winning touchdown pass to Urlacher, giving the Bears the National Football Conference's number two playoff seed. [cite web|url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A18019-2001Dec23|title=Redskins Fall From Race] Despite their extremely productive defense, the Bears lost the divisional playoffs to the Philadelphia Eagles. Unfortunately, the Bears’ 2001 winning season would soon be overshadowed by three years of mediocrity. Prior to the 2004 NFL season, the Bears’ organization fired coach Dick Jauron, and then hired Lovie Smith. After starting the season on the lower rungs of the NFC North, Urlacher suffered several injuries, which sidelined him for a majority of the season. [cite web|url=http://tvnz.co.nz/view/sport_story_skin/465927?format=html
title=Urlacher injured again
]

Monster of the midway

Despite starting the 2005 NFL season on a disastrous note, the Bears rebounded by winning eight straight games, and eventually clinched a playoff berth against the Green Bay Packers on Christmas Day. Urlacher played a crucial role in the Bears' playoff berth; he recorded at least ten tackles in six consecutive games, while leading the team with 121 tackles. Additionally, his leadership and seasoned judgment allowed the Bears' defense to allow the fewest points in the league. [cite web|url=http://www.actasports.com/sow.php?id=72|title=The best defense of all time?] By the time the season ended, Urlacher and the Bears had boasted the best defense in the entire NFL. Before the regular season’s end, Urlacher was awarded with the NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award, and an invitation to the Pro Bowl. Urlacher, who ranked among the league's top defensive tiers, received more votes than any other defensive player in the NFL. [cite web|url=http://chicago.about.com/od/sportsrecreation/a/122505_Bears.htm
title=Six Chicago Bears Named to 2006 Pro Bowl
] The following week, the Carolina Panthers defeated the Bears with a score of 29-21 in the divisional playoffs.

The Bears started the 2006 season by winning nine out of eleven games. Urlacher had a prodigious performance against the Arizona Cardinals during a week six Monday Night Football game. After trailing the Cardinals by twenty points, Urlacher helped the Bears engineer a late comeback, by stripping the ball from Edgerrin James, which led to a pivotal Bears’ recovery and touchdown. The Bears went on to win, 24-23, while Urlacher recorded eighteen total tackles (ten solo). [cite web|url=http://www.chicagobears.com/news/NewsStory.asp?story_id=2561
title=Lightning strikes twice for Urlacher
] Later, he went on to overcome a serious sprained toe injury to lead the Bears to a 38-20 victory over the New York Giants, and made an interception in the end-zone the following week to solidify a shutout against the New York Jets. [ [http://www.chicagobears.com/news/NewsStory.asp?story_id=2695 Bears catch up to Jets' no-huddle offense] by "Larry Mayer" of Chicagobears.com, posted 19 November, 2006.] Urlacher and the Bears concluded the season with a 13-3 record, and the NFC’s top playoff seed. Urlacher was selected as the NFC’s starting middle linebacker in the 2007 Pro Bowl, and was named onto the Associated Press’s "2006 All-Pro Team". [cite web|url=http://www.chicagobears.com/news/NewsStory.asp?story_id=2825
title=Hester among seven Bears voted to Pro Bowl
] [cite web |url=http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news;_ylt=AqMbR3et8MEKS6ALAZcsdTlDubYF?slug=ap-nflall-proteam&prov=ap&type=lgns|title= Tomlinson, Taylor and Bailey unanimous All-Pros] He also finished fourth in the 2006 NFL Defensive Player Award. [cite web |url= http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070105/ap_on_sp_fo_ne/fbn_nfl_defensive_player |title= Taylor takes AP Defensive Player honors]

Urlacher finished the season with three interceptions and 141 total tackles, which led the National Football Conference and earned Urlacher a selection to his fifth Pro Bowl. He played a pivotal defensive role in the Bears’ post-season victories over the Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints. Ultimately, the Bears won the NFC Championship, but lost to the Indianapolis Colts, 29-17, at Super Bowl XLI. [ [http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/recap?gid=20070204003 Indianapolis 29, Chicago 17] ] Urlacher opted to defer his Pro Bowl trip due to the earlier toe injury he sustained. [cite web |url= http://www.chicagobears.com/news/NewsStory.asp?story_id=3041|title=Kreutz, Briggs pull out of Pro Bowl with injuries] The Bears were unable to replicate their success in the following season, and finished last in the NFC North. In the middle of the season, Urlacher admitted that he had been suffering from an arthritic back, but later claimed the ailment was not serious. [Engel, Mac, [http://www.star-telegram.com/332/story/385643.html Cowboys assistants, Falcons to talk soon] (January 2, 2008), Star-Telegram.com, Retrieved on February 9, 2008.] Nevertheless, he finished the season on a high note, registering five interceptions, five sacks, one fumble recovery, one hundred and twenty-three tackles, and a defensive touchdown. [Mayer, Larry, [http://www.chicagobears.com/news/NewsStory.asp?story_id=4323 Big plays highlighted productive season for Urlacher] (January 27, 2008), chicagobears.com, Retrieved on February 9, 2008.] Following the season’s conclusion, Urlacher received minor neck surgery to treat his arthritic back. [Associated Press, [http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news;_ylt=ArqrFdcIh8A9dZsvrtLFboJDubYF?slug=ap-bears-urlacher&prov=ap&type=lgns Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher has minor neck surgery] (February 8, 2008), Yahoo! Sports, Retrieved on February 9, 2008.]

Reputation

Following his successful rookie season, Urlacher was able to gain popularity with the fans. Undoubtedly, he is still one of the most popular current Chicago Bears players. Bears fans consider Urlacher to be one of the "Monsters of the Midway", a "Valhalla" of Bears’ icons including Dick Butkus, Bill George, and “Samurai” Mike Singletary. On a national level, Urlacher’s jersey sales have rivaled those of other NFL icons, such as Michael Vick and Brett Favre. [cite web|url=http://football.about.com/cs/footballapparel/tp/2002playjersey.htm|title=Top 10 NFL Player Jerseys|language=English] Football fans across the nation have also voted Urlacher into six Pro Bowls.cite web |url=http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/UrlaBr00.htm|title= Brian Urlacher statistics] Urlacher's teammates and coaches have also praised his character and athletic ability. In 2007, former teammate Tank Johnson called upon Urlacher to testify during one of his court hearings. [CBS Chicago, [http://cbs2chicago.com/topstories/local_story_074094000.html Tank Johnson Sentenced To 120 Days In Jail] Retrieved on March 15, 2007]

Some skeptics and critics, however, consider Urlacher overrated. Urlacher’s injury woes in 2004 caused "Chicago Sun-Times" columnist Jay Mariotti to name him the NFL’s most overrated player. [cite web|url=http://www.suntimes.com/sports/mariotti/116332,CST-SPT-jay30.articlel|title='Overrated' Urlacher could be NFL MVP] Even after recovering from his injury, and winning the NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award for the 2005 season, a 2006 "Sports Illustrated" poll of 361 NFL players named Urlacher to be the second most overrated player in the league, behind Terrell Owens. [cite web|url=http://nfl.aolsportsblog.com/2006/10/31/overrated-terrell-owens-brian-urlacher-and-tom-brady/|title= Overrated: Terrell Owens, Brian Urlacher ... and Tom Brady?] Urlacher was unfazed by the poll’s results. During an interview, he said, "Just watch the film. I don’t know what people are saying, but I’m not too worried about it anymore. All I can do is go out there and play hard and try and help my team win, and that’s what I’m going to keep doing." [cite web|url=http://www.chicagobears.com/news/NewsStory.asp?story_id=2603|title=Adversity not slowing Urlacher's meteoric rise]

Personal life

Urlacher currently lives with his two children, Pamela and Riley, with visitation rights with his son Kennedy. [cite web|url=http://cbs2chicago.com/sports/local_story_292135420.html|title=Bitter Custody Battle May Be Over For Urlacher|language=English] His younger brother, Casey, lived with him before beginning a career in the Arena Football League. Urlacher was married to Laurie, but they later divorced. While married to Laurie, the couple had their two daughters, Pamela and Riley.

In 2002, he appeared on "Wheel of Fortune", and won over $47,000 for charity. Urlacher, along with other Chicago Bears players, have sold autographed sports memorabilia to help fund the Special Olympics. Furthermore, Urlacher has been involved with charity work since his days at the University of New Mexico, where he volunteered numerous hours for the Special Olympics and Ronald McDonald House.

In June 2005, Urlacher filed suit to establish paternity of another child, Kennedy. Genetic testing was completed and proved that he is Kennedy's father. Kennedy's mother, Tyna Robertson was already well-known to the media, having made unsuccessful claims of sexual assault against famed dancer Michael Flatley and a doctor from Naperville, Illinois. [cite web|url=http://www.dailysouthtown.com/news/115725,2NWS5-29.article|title=Who is Tyna?|publisher=Daily Southtown] In October 2006, Robertson refused to drive Kennedy to Urlacher’s house in Lake Bluff, Illinois and he took her to court to resolve the dispute. Ultimately, the judge decided it would be best for both Kennedy and his parents if they met at a halfway point between their residences for exchanges. [cite web|url=http://cbs2chicago.com/sports/local_story_292135420.html|title=Bitter Custody Battle May Be Over For Urlacher]

Urlacher is also a prosperous businessman. He is the owner of an [http://www.travelingusa.com/business/brianurlachercrosscountryautotucumcari/index.html?from_cat=Rentals%20and%20Dealerships auto dealership] in New Mexico, and has appeared in several commercials for McDonald's, Domino's Pizza, Nike, Campbell's Chunky soup, Old Spice, and Glacéau. Nike also aired special commercials about Urlacher's high school career containing clips and commentary of plays he made. However, Urlacher later stated that he feels "uncomfortable" appearing in commercials. [cite web|url=http://www.jockbio.com/Bios/Urlacher/Urlacher_mysay.html|publisher=JockBio.com |title=Brian Urlacher "My Say"] He was also the cover athlete and spokesperson for Sega Sports' "NFL 2K3". During media day before Super Bowl XLI Urlacher wore a hat promoting Glacéau vitamin water, a non-NFL approved sponsor, for which he was fined $100,000. [cite web |url=http://www.chicagobears.com/news/NewsStory.asp?story_id=3307 |title=Urlacher fined $100,000 by NFL for wearing hat |accessdate=2007-04-19 |publisher=ChicagoBears.com]

Outside football, Urlacher is a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan, and was once invited to sing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during the Seventh-inning stretch, as part of the organization's tradition. He also enjoys watching professional wrestling, and wrestled in a pay-per-view event. The Bears organization discovered this and forced him to stop. [cite web|url=http://www.jockbio.com/Bios/Urlacher/Urlacher_numbers.html|publisher=JockBio |title=Brian Urlacher Facts] He also enjoys golfing in his spare time, and during an episode of "AT&T’s Home Turf," Urlacher revealed a room in his mansion containing a plethora of golf paraphernalia. When home, Urlacher revealed that he also enjoys watching the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, and HBO’s "Entourage". Urlacher enjoys listening to a wide variety of music, including hip-hop, rap, rock, and country music. [cite web|url=http://seehowtheylive.com/bUrlacher.php|title=AT&T's Home Turf]

References

External links

* [http://www.brianurlacher.com/ Official Website]
* [http://www.chicagobears.com/team/player.asp?player_id=79 Official Chicago Bears Profile]
* [http://www.nfl.com/players/playerpage/187400 Official NFL Statistics]

Persondata
NAME = Urlacher, Brian
ALTERNATIVE NAMES = Urlacher, Brian Keith
SHORT DESCRIPTION = American Football player
DATE OF BIRTH = May 25, 1978
PLACE OF BIRTH = Pasco, Washington, United States of America
DATE OF DEATH =
PLACE OF DEATH =


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