Urlacher, the leader of the Bears defense, has been battling a hamstring injury and the Bears have decided to shut him down for the remainder of the regular season in hopes the hamstring can heal enough to make him available for the playoffs.
On Tuesday in an interview with the local FOX-TV affiliate in Chicago, Urlacher acknowledged that he may have played his last game with the Bears, saying, "I don't think that's going to happen, but, if it does, I have had a really good and long career. So, I would be sad, but I wouldn't be crushed."
Urlacher has played the entire season at less than 100 percent, as injuries and age have taken a toll on the 13-year veteran. He has remained the emotional leader of the defense and time hasn't eroded his skill as quickly as some expected, so his absence from the lineup with be a huge loss for a Bears team suddenly in a dogfight for the NFC North title after falling into a tie with Green Bay for the division lead after being in first place all season.
It will be strange to see the Chicago defense on the field without No. 54 patrolling the middle, but, as the Vikings battle for their postseason lives, not seeing Urlacher calling the defensive signals will be a welcome sight for the Vikings offense, because it will represent one less weapon at the Bears' disposal Sunday.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.