Teammates React to Urlacher's Loss

The news of Brian Urlacher's loss hit his Chicago Bears teammates hard this afternoon. Roy Williams said it's tough for the whole team but that they'll be ready to go come Sunday against the Saints.

There was a somber mood in the Chicago Bears locker room today that was noticeable even to reporters who had not yet heard of the death of Brian Urlacher's mother.

Israel Idoniji expressed his support for Urlacher and said he "understood that family comes first and no matter how long it takes for Brian to work out whatever he needs to do with his family, we'll understand and be here for him."

Rookie linebacker Dom DeCicco stopped briefly and said "We are all behind Brian no matter what he might need. This is a team and we stand alongside one another."

An injured WR Roy Williams, dealing with a groin strain, sat in his locker and expressed his support.

"It's not a distraction for us at all," Williams said. "We will do whatever it takes to get Brian through this difficult time"


WR Roy Williams
Jerry Lai/US Presswire

Then Williams turned his attention to the other matter in front of the Bears, an away game this weekend against a rested and ready New Orleans Saints team in the famously distracting environs of the Superdome.

"Sure the noise is a distraction" Williams said. "I've played in that environment before and it wasn't fun, that's for sure. But that is why it's vitally important to come out strong. You have to make your big plays early on, get the crowd out of the game any way that you can."

Williams noted that Bears practice tomorrow will feature noise machines designed to simulate what they'll encounter on the road.

"But that only goes so far," Williams said. "You're still on your home turf and you know that they can turn off those machines at any time. But in a game situation the pressure is definitely on. It's extremely difficult to get timing right because you can't hear the snap count. It's important to get your play straight with everybody when you are in the huddle because once you are out of the huddle, you can't hear a thing."

Williams, who had four catches for 55 yards in Sunday's season opener before leaving with a groin injury, understands the importance of making a statement when lining up against a strong team.

The opportunity to watch the Saints play the Packers last week might be helpful in the short term, but for Williams, there's no comfort in the Saints' recent loss.

"Its early in the season. You can't count on anything," he said. "They're going to be making adjustments in their approach between the Packers game and the time we face them this Sunday. I think we did really good on offense but the Saints have strength there as well. They are a playoff type team coming off of a tough loss. They'll be beefed up and ready to play."

The fact that Cutler hasn't ever played in New Orleans could be a factor but Williams feels the quarterback will adjust quickly.

"Jay has been around this league for a while so I'm not concerned," he said. "I've been talking to him, telling him about the noise level. I remember that well from playing there with Detroit. It isn't fun but you can find ways to deal with it."

And then there's the possibility the defense with be without Urlacher on Sunday.

"He'll do what he needs to do for his family," Williams said. "We have people who can step in and function well. This is an important game and you know both teams will be playing at the top of their ability. If Brian can be there, that would be great. But if not, we'll go on.

Whether or no Williams will be on the field is still up in the air.

"I'm not sure when I'll be cleared to return in terms of my injury," he said. "If I'm not out there, I'll be cheering from the sidelines. It's going to be a tough game but it's also going to be fun."


Beth Gorr has been covering the Bears for the last 12 years and is the author of Bear Memories: The Chicago-Green Bay Rivalry. She is currently working on a second book about early Bears history.


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