Urlacher Placed on IR

Lake Forest - For the first time in his five-year career, MLB Brian Urlacher wasn't voted to the Pro Bowl, losing out to the Carolina Panthers' Dan Morgan and the Philadelphia Eagles' Jeremiah Trotter, one of nine players from the defending NFC champions who will make the trip to Honolulu.

Brian Urlacher was also placed on injured reserve Wednesday with a left hamstring injury that hadn't shown much improvement since it occurred on Dec. 12. Urlacher will wind up playing in just nine games this season after missing Games 3 and 4 with a strained right hamstring and Games 10 and 11 following calf surgery.

"That probably had a little to do with it," coach Lovie Smith of Urlacher's exclusion from the Pro Bowl. "I was definitely surprised that he wasn't on that team. (But) when we're 5-9, I don't think you can say an awful lot about those types of teams. We feel like we have to win more, and then we'll get more guys on those teams, but we have more players capable of being on those teams."

C Olin Kreutz, the Bears' only Pro Bowl player, is not gloating about receiving the honor for the fourth straight year.

"I don't think I played very well this year. I appreciate the respect that I guess guys around the league have for me. (But) we're 5-9; the offense isn't playing well. I'm not going to say that I'm having a great season."

It's ironic that the defense is the strongpoint of the team, yet it's Kreutz going to the Pro Bowl. The offensive line has allowed a team record 55 sacks and the offense ranks last in several categories.

In just three games QB Chad Hutchinson has seen what Kreutz brings to the team.

"Seeing not only what kind of player he is but what kind of leader he is. His football smarts is unbelievable, you know his ability to pick up blitzes and put us in the right situation is awesome," Hutchinson said.

P Brad Maynard was a first alternate to the team. Lance Briggs received second alternate honors, while R.W. McQuarters was a third alternate as a return specialist.

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