I guess it's easy to kick someone while they're down, meaning it's easy to say when he missed seven games, the Bears went 5-11 and he wasn't voted to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career.
Upon further review, Urlacher is anything but overrated. The team didn't win a game without him on the field in 2004. In just nine games he had 104 tackles, 5 sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception. If you project those numbers over the course of a full season he would have had one of his most complete years with over 170 tackles, 9-10 sacks, 3-4 forced fumbles and two picks.
To go to four consecutive Pro Bowls to open a career is a huge honor. The fans, players and coaches all have their hand in the process, so it's obviously more than fans that have respect for his game.
You have to remember Urlacher has only been playing middle linebacker for five years. He's relied on his freakish speed and athleticism to chase down opposing quarterbacks, running backs and receivers. Soon to be 27, he's reaching the prime of his career physically and mentally his game is going to a new level.
Urlacher seems to be a perfect in the defense Lovie Smith and Ron Rivera have designed. A year from now we're going to be talking about Defensive Player of the Year and wonder how the Sporting News is overrated.