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Brian Urlacher, Retired NFL Linebacker

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb
The Truth Network Radio
January 26, 2024 4:43 pm

Brian Urlacher, Retired NFL Linebacker

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb

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January 26, 2024 4:43 pm

Brian Urlacher stops by to discuss the NFL playoffs, the Bears future outlook, and what he's up to.

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$10 minimum per order. Additional terms apply. And now joining us on the Zach Gelb Show is the Pro Football Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher. Brian, always appreciate the time. How are you? I'm good, Zach. Thanks for having me on, man. Appreciate it.

Yeah, thanks so much for coming on. So how's your golf game been? I could imagine you probably hit the ball like a country mile, right? When I hit it good, yes.

But when I don't hit it good, which is most of the time, it goes a lot different directions. But I love the game. It's a blast. It gives me something to do now with all my free time being retired. You know, you didn't come off to me as like someone when you were playing that was ever nervous.

There was always a confidence about you. But golf is such a humbling game. When you participate in something like this, do you get nervous where you just don't want to embarrass yourself with how easy it is to embarrass yourself with golf?

You're exactly right. Golf, I don't think I ever feel like easy. Like it's at ease. It's always hard for me. I'm not sure if all the guys feel like that who play these tournaments, but it's just there's people out there. You don't want to hit people watching. Obviously, the fans out there, it is so easy to embarrass yourself because you get a fat shot. You can top one.

Not a lot of things can go right, but a lot of things can go wrong. Talking to Brian Urlacher right now. So it is Conference Championship weekend. Everyone remembers when you punched your ticket to the Super Bowl with the Bears taking care of the Saints all these years later. What are the memories that come back to mind when you look back at that day?

That was a fun day. We were at home at Soldier Field. We got the George House trophy, which is the founder of the Bears. We got it presented to us at Soldier Field.

Just started snowing in the fourth quarter there. It was awesome. Then we lost it in 2010 at home. Green Bay beat us and they went on to beat Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl.

It was a great day, the first one. The second one wasn't that great, but then we go on to lose to the Colts two weeks later. It's a fun weekend for football.

I like watching these games because there's so much meaning to them. We all remember how that Super Bowl started with Devin Hester doing what Devin Hester does with the kickoff return. I know he's up for the Hall of Fame.

Special teams is always an interesting topic. To me, he's a Hall of Famer, but what would you say if you had to advocate for your former teammate? He's the best who's ever done it in his position.

No one's ever done it better than him. He changed the game at the kickoff return, punt return. People schemed for him.

They had to change their whole game plan field position-wise based on what he could do. He'll get in. I don't know when he will.

I don't know how. You look at the list of people that are eligible every year he's been a candidate or a finalist. It's tough, man, because there's some great... I think Julius Pepper's a finalist this year. Dwight Frini's a finalist. There's some great players.

I'm leaving guys out, obviously, but there's so many great players every year who are on that list, so it's tough to pick. You could only put so many in from each class. A guy like Jerry Kramer who eventually got in. Yeah, he had to wait the longest time to get in, and just as long as you're on the ballot or you still have someone advocating for you, I guess there's always hope. Yeah, you know, I was so happy Jerry got in with our class, by the way.

He's a great man, a great player, obviously, with the Packers back in the day. But yeah, you just don't know what... I don't know how the voting works. I don't understand it. I've never understood it.

I don't know why. Some guys go in, some guys don't, and they put them in. They're like, we'll put them in next year because we have to put so-and-so in this year. If we don't have to go in that year, why shouldn't you be in there?

There's a lot of politics involved with that stuff, I guess. Yeah, no doubt about it. Talking to the Pro Football Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher, I don't know if you still miss playing the game because you've been away from it for so long, but when you think back at your career, like you had an iconic career. People say the name Urlacher, and everyone knows what you did on a football field, but what are some of the things that still come to mind to you about what you were able to accomplish with your story and your background?

Just where I came from, number one, small town in New Mexico. I had one offer for football in college at the University of New Mexico, accepted it, obviously. It's my only offer, so I went there, and I just kept getting better every year. I was in college. I busted my butt and got better and better, and then obviously I was able to get drafted by the Bears in the first round, and I think everything kind of fell into place there.

My first four years were really good with Coach Terron there, and then when Lovey got there and put me at the mic, or I was at mic already, but his cover two allowed me to kind of be an athlete in the middle and kind of run around, do some plays, and do some things in the passing game, but also still support the run, but it was great. It was so much fun. I enjoyed going to work every day my whole career.

Not many people get to do that. And it's also rare because you played your entire career in Chicago. Were you ever close to going somewhere else? You know, the Bears always got my deal done early, so it never was, and obviously my last year when they didn't redo my contract, I had the opportunities to go play somewhere else, but I think at that point no one really wanted me, and I was too damn old anyway, so it worked out pretty good. Retired at the right time, and I was fortunate to stay 13 years with the Bears.

We're all getting ready for the games this weekend. Obviously there's a big quarterback matchup between Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson. I'm just wondering, you being one of the more iconic defensive players to ever lace him up, who was the toughest quarterback that you ever had to prepare for? Oh, they're all so good. You know, I played against Rogers, played against Brady, Manning, Breeze, Vick.

I'm sure I'm leaving guys out as well. Phillip Rivers was awesome as well. They're all so good. Rogers gave us fits. You know, we played him twice a year. The thing he did, he always knew what defense he ran before the ball was set.

Most of the good ones do. And he was mobile enough to give himself time in the pocket, and if he needed to scramble, he could, but he always gave us fits. Brett did as well. Brett was awesome as well. I loved playing against him for those few years I got to, but they're all so damn good.

It's hard to pick one guy. Michael Vick was probably my favorite out of all those guys. Man, your whole defense had to be ready to play that day because of the running factor, obviously. But he threw the ball great.

People don't give him enough credit for how well he threw the football. And I don't even know how you're supposed to play defense now these days. No one knows what pass interference is. I have no clue how you hit the quarterback. And then all the quarterbacks now have legs too, so it makes it so tough.

Yes. Zach, on third and 15 or third and 20, there's going to be a defensive penalty, whether it's a legal contact, a phantom holding call. If it's a big play in the game, there's going to be a defensive penalty somewhere offside or something.

It's a, it never fails. I'm sitting there watching it with my wife. I'm like, Hey, there's going to be a pencil in this way. Just watch her fourth and fourth and six or whatever is always a defensive penalty. It drives me.

I feel bad for the DBs. How do you play defense on the guy when you can't touch them after five yards? You can barely touch their jerseys before that.

It's tough, man. I don't know how they do it. And not only that, every time there's a rule that favors the defense, they try to change it. Like for a while, you know, I was of the belief that you fumbled the ball out of the end zone. Well, you could fumble it at the one, you get the ball back at the one, but you fumble it out of the end zone. You know, I thought you should get the ball back, but there's no rules that favor the defense left in that one. So I actually think if you fumble the ball out of the end zone now, it should be a touchback and go to the other team.

It should. Well, that happened last week, right? Was it the Chiefs game or that?

I think that's always been that way. But one of the few rules that actually benefits the defense, I think if a quarterback or the runner fumbles on fourth down, the ball's dead there because no one else, unless the guy who fumbles recovers it, pass the first down instead there. But yeah, we don't have many that go in our favor on the defensive side of the football. But it's amazing how good, that's why it's amazing how good Baltimore's defense is. With all the rules stacked against them, they still every week show up and play good defense.

And could you imagine how many fines you would get? Not that you were like a dirty player, but now you hit the quarterback and you can't have all your body weight land in the quarterback. It's just ridiculous. How about you get a roughing the passer for a sack?

The guy actually has the football and they call roughing the passer on you when you get a sack. I just, yeah, I don't understand a lot of the things that are happening right now. I understand them because you want player safety for the quarterbacks.

I get that. Those are guys that make all the money, but it's very frustrating at some times to watch. We'll talk about Invited Celebrity Classic, the golf tournament in just a bit, but I'll also be remiss. I know you do great work with Ditka and Jaws for the Gridiron Greats.

I go to that party each and every year. Just tell some people what you do to try to help some of your former players or some players of the past that are still trying to figure out life. And unfortunately, you have to deal with some of the nasty part of football. Yeah, you know, I think most people think about NFL players or guys who played in the NFL and they're rich, they're well off or they have good benefits. It's not like that for the guys who played in the 60s, 70s, 80s, even the 90s. The benefits are not what they should have been for these guys. And the NFL is not doing anything for them. You know, the NFL makes 10, 11 billion dollars a year, something like that. And they don't, those guys that played are pretty much out of the picture for them.

They get no benefits. So what Coach Ditka did is he started an organization called Ditka's Gridiron Greats. He just tries to raise money to get back to those guys who don't have a lot right now, whether it's insurance, medical bills, roofing, housing, whatever it is, food, just trying to give them a little bit of bump. And the party is February 8th at the M Resort in Vegas for the Super Bowl. Last year was the first time I went. It was awesome.

You know, Jaws and I co-hosted because Coach Ditka's, I think, is staying down in Florida this year again. But it's a great, I mean, I was shocked how many former players and current players. It's a great event. Showed up to the event.

I'd never been, so I didn't know. But I was pleasantly surprised at how many guys showed up to support Coach Ditka's organization. It was really awesome. Yeah, and I know Mark Singleton and Rudolph Foods and Southern Recipes very well. Yes, he's awesome. He's a good guy. I like Mark. Yeah, I've been going there ever since, I think, like 2013 or 2014, whenever the Super Bowl was in New Orleans.

And it is all class all the way. Alrighty, Brian Erlacher, the Pro Football Hall of Famer here with us. The biggest question in Chicago right now, they have the number one overall pick. Should they trade Justin Fields and draft a quarterback like Caleb Williams?

What would you do if you were running the Bears? I would have drafted C.J. Stroud last year. So, you know, they had the number one pick last year. I know everyone was high on Bryce Young, but you look, you know, everyone always talks about the guy, like, they said the Bears passed up on Deshaun Watson when they took Mitch Trubisky. Well, you could say the same thing last year. They passed up on C.J.

Stroud as well. They traded that pick. Could have taken him. But, I mean, it's not good to have the number one pick two years in a row. Obviously, this year they got it because they traded with Carolina. But I think they have to take Caleb. You know, I don't think there's any way around it this year. If you don't take him, it turns out to be great. But having said that, Justin Fields played good at the end of the season last year as well.

It's tough. Their defense really played good, I think, the second half of the season. I don't watch a lot of their games, but they played better in the second half. But I think if Caleb's available there, you have to take him.

And I thought they played well, like you said, down the stretch. So there's a reason to make the case to keep the Fields, right? Bring him back, Matt Iberflus's head coach. But there was a lot of buzz that maybe they should have taken a swing at Jim Harbaugh. Do you think that was a mistake that they didn't pursue Harbaugh this offseason? Well, the Bears couldn't pay him what he's going to be paid. I'm sorry, they would, but they won't, if that makes sense. They won't pay him what he probably deserves or what the Chargers paid him.

So that was probably never on their radar. I like what Iberflus did. He's a defensive head coach and played good defense. And to your point earlier about Justin Fields being the coach, if you're asking in year three if he's still the guy, he's probably not the guy. If you've given him three years and you don't know the answer to that question, then he's probably not the guy. And he's played better last year, I'll give him that.

But I just don't think he's going to be the guy going forward for them. Alrighty, before we let you run, I always appreciate you jumping on board with us. Tell us once again what you're doing with this big golf tournament coming up. Oh yeah, the Invited Charity Celebrity Classic. It's in Dallas at Las Colinas. Great event.

This will be the third year we've had it down there. Hard golf course, which is hard for me. We play with the Champions Tour players. We have the celebrity side of it as well. I think the purse for the celebrity is like $500,000. A little more for the Champions Tour. Yeah, you've got some Hall of Famers in there from golf, obviously.

And then you have quite a few Hall of Famers as well from baseball, football, basketball. It's cool. It's a fun week. They do a good job. They have a lot of money back for charity in the Dallas area as well. But it's a fun event. We had a pretty good crowd turnout the last couple of years as well, so it's been a lot of fun. And once again, tickets are free. You guys just need to register at www.invitedcelebrityclassic.com.

You can also watch it live on the Golf Channel all three days of competition, April 19th to the 21st. Brian, I'll see you in Vegas. Appreciate the time. Thanks so much. All right, Zach.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-11 09:32:39 / 2024-02-11 09:40:25 / 8

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