Urlacher frustrated about having to sit

A restless and unhappy Brian Urlacher spoke to the media Friday evening. It was his first opportunity for comment since he sustained a right hamstring strain during the team's first practice.

"My overall mood? Complete frustration," Urlacher said. "I worked hard every day during the off season on my conditioning. I came into camp in what I believe was the best shape I've ever achieved and now look at me. I am spending all of my time in t he training room. Today at least, I got to return to the sidelines for a while. But in a way that was even more frustrating for me."

Urlacher hasn't missed a game since his junior year in high school and is not unaccustomed to the patience required to let an injury heal.

"You know me," he said. "I want to put on the pads and get back out there. At this point they are saying that will be anywhere from four to six weeks from now. My feeling is that I'll return in about three to four weeks. Unless things are really bad, you can be sure that I will not miss the opening game of the regular season."

For the leader of the defense there could be a sense of psychological separation from his teammates while rehabs the injury.

"They let me start going to meetings today," Urlacher said," so I guess that is some progress, but during a training camp, you want to be there in the trenches with the other guys. That's how you learn to communicate and to work efficiently together."

Urlacher had no idea what lead to him straining the right hamstring.

"I was just in there going for a hole. I must have stepped wrong or something. I'm pretty sure that I didn't hit Olin, it was just a bad move on my part. When it happened, it felt as if I had been shot. Since I have been injury free for so many years, I had no idea what had happened. I tried to get up but fell down in terrible pain. I just couldn't move. For a while there, I though that I had been shot."

Urlacher had his sights set on being the Defensive Player of the Year, but that might be a little more difficult than he had anticipated going into training camp.

"Yes, I had goals for myself this year," Urlacher said." The new system seemed perfect for me to achieve them. I would have been satisfied with nothing less than leading the league at my position. I still feel that I can accomplish that, but it will take a lot more effort on my part."

For head coach Lovie Smith, it's a wait and see situation.

"I know that Brian will come back to us as strong as ever," Smith said. "He is the type of player who won't let any setback get him down for long. In this league you are going to have injuries now and then. It's a fact of life. The hard part is in dealing with the rehabilitation necessary to come back on the field in the best possible condition."

Urlacher reluctantly agreed:

"Although I want to play again tomorrow, I know that isn't going to happen. I am willing to take the time to get back to where I should be. The worst possible thing would be to return too soon and aggravate the hamstring. That would impact the entire season."

The training staff is limiting Urlacher's workout regiment to upper body lifting and occasionally riding a stationary bike. The free time will give Urlacher the chance to know the defense backwards and forwards.

"I'm going to learn everything that I can about our playbook," Urlacher said. I'll watch practices and go to meetings. I'll participate in this team in every way I can. I can go to the weight room and strengthen my upper body. Maybe soon I can use a therapy pool. Whatever it takes I'll do because I want to come back as strong or stronger than I've ever been."


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