What a Time to be on I.R.

For most of the Bears, the chance to play in Super Bowl XLI is a reward for a year's worth of blood, sweat, and tears. But what about the players on injured reserve who won't be able to suit up on Super Sunday? Bear Report talked to Mike Brown, Jamar Williams, Brandon McGowan, and Dusty Dvoracek about it on Media Day at Dolphin Stadium, and this is what they had to say.

Chicago Bears safety Mike Brown is the emotional leader of the defense and one of the strongest personalities on the team, but he's been forced to watch from the sideline an awful lot the last three seasons.

A second-round draft pick out of Nebraska back in 2000, Brown started 63 of 64 games his first four years in the NFL. But he has battled lower-leg injuries ever since and been out of action this season since Week 6's miracle comeback win over Arizona. Brown actually scored a touchdown in that game, upping his franchise-record total to seven career defensive TDs.

Although Brown would give anything to be able to play in Super Bowl XLI, he's not overly upset with his situation.

"Not too bad because I know I can't play," Brown said on Tuesday at Dolphin Stadium. "I knew after the Arizona game that I wasn't going to play for the rest of the year, so I got over it. I'm not going to play. I've just enjoyed watching all the games on the sideline. Just to be a part of this whole thing is really cool."

Brown may not be out on the field cracking heads with his teammates, but he doesn't feel isolated from his fellow Bears.

"I still really do feel like I'm a part of the team," he said. "Everyone treats me the same. Everything is the same in the locker room. The fun that we have, the things that we do in the meeting room – everything is the same as it's been since day one, so I've enjoyed every step."

Rookie linebacker Jamar Williams wasn't supposed to contribute much in 2006 playing behind the likes of All-Pros Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs. However, he was just starting to open some eyes in spot duty on defense and on special teams before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury. He's been on the shelf since the preseason but is expected to make a full recovery before training camp.

Williams is almost back to 100% but still has some work to do in terms of his rehab.

"I'm doing good," said Williams. "I'm healed up. Everything's pretty much back to where I was. I'm just trying to get my strength back to where it was, and that's the hardest part because it's kind of a slow process."

Even though making it to the Super Bowl is an accomplishment Williams can cross off his list, this is not the way he wanted it to happen.

"It's very bittersweet, man," he admitted. "This is a dream come true, but I wish I could play in it so bad. I'm blessed to just be here, and I just try to take everything as it is and just learn from every experience."

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Safety Brandon McGowan followed up an injury-plagued 2005 with a banged-up 2006, but he hasn't forgotten about the throng of supporters back in the Windy City.

"I feel for everybody that's in Chicago right now because the weather out here is great," said McGowan. "It's awesome. I know there's people out in Chicago that would love to be here with us to support us, but they're watching."

Like Williams, McGowan would trade anything for a chance to play on Super Sunday but feels he'll fulfill that dream one day.

"Yes, it's a little bitter," he said. "But you've still got to enjoy the moment. You still have to enjoy the moment when you're in the Super Bowl, so don't get your head down. I'm still young, so I still have time to make it back."

It's hard to tell if rookie Dusty Dvoracek is upset about being on injured reserve right now. He's happy enough just being in Miami this time of year and away from freezing Chicago.

"I've got sandals and shorts in my locker," Dvoracek said with a grin. "I can't wait to go put them on."

JC


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