Past and Present Collide

Dick Butkus and Brian Urlacher met publicly for the first time on Thursday. The event was dubbed the "Linebacker Luncheon", which was hosted by Chicago Bear Report columnist Doug Buffone.

The event was coordinated by WSCR 670 AM and moderated Buffone, who played next to Butkus from 1966-73. Buffone, an afternoon co-host on "The Score," asked Butkus and Urlacher what they thought of one another.

Butkus didn't understand why the Bears originally put Urlacher at outside linebacker.

"I saw him a year ago in the summer (of 2000) and thought back then they ought to put him at middle linebacker,'' said Butkus, who believed a former safety would be better suited to the pass-defense requirements of the middle linebacker position. "I couldn't figure out why they would put him at the corner (strong side)."

An injury to Barry Minter forced the Bears to move Urlacher to middle linebacker two games into his rookie year. The rest is history.

Buffone then turned to Urlacher for his opinion Butkus.

"Violent," Urlacher said. "He played hard every play. He played the way you're supposed to play. He played with a passion and he was a team guy."

About 300 people paid $75 apiece to attend the luncheon, which took place at Maggiano's Little Italy restaurant in downtown Chicago.

The middle linebackers have been compared because of tradition and production. Butkus appeared in eight Pro Bowls in nine seasons with the Bears from 1965-73. Urlacher, a 2000 first-round draft pick, has appeared in the Pro Bowl in his first two seasons.

"These two guys, there's nothing flashy about them," Buffone said. "All they do is go out and make big plays and they do it all the time and they've got a passion for this game."

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