Dec. 23, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; Chicago Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher (54) looks on prior to the game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Urlacher: Chicago Bears Are Shedding Lovie Smith Players

Fox Sports analyst and former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher has been making the necessary Chicago stops while in New York this week for the Super Bowl. Urlacher has had interviews with several Chicago outlets and it’s clear that there is still tension between the future hall of famer and the team that he has played his whole career with.

While speaking with ESPN Chicago 1000 this week, Urlacher suggested that the Bears are shedding Lovie Smith players off their roster.

“What I’m thinking is the new guy that came in there, he’s just trying to get rid of all of Lovie’s players, is the way I feel about it,” Urlacher, now an analyst at Fox Sports 1, said during Tuesday’s “Waddle & Silvy Show” on ESPN Radio 1000. “I think there’s gonna be other guys around there that are gone as well that have been really good players for that team for a long time. You get older, that’s what happens.” -Brian Urlacher, ESPN Chicago 

That certainly isn’t a foreign practice when it comes to professional sports whenever there is a new coach in place. The new coach almost always overhauls the roster with players that fit his system. A new system is usually why there is a new coach in the first place. Meaning it would seem logical that there would be a roster makeover.

After making over the offensive side of the roster, general manager Phil Emery is determined to makeover the defensive side of the roster. That would be where most of Lovie Smith’s former players could see their tenure end with the team.

The first victim of the turnover may be veteran cornerback Charles Tillman. Tillman is set to test the free agent market when the new year begins in March and there is a growing consensus that the veteran will not return to the Bears next season. A Bears team that will be changing their defense to a hybrid scheme in addition to getting younger.

Though, if the decision was up to Urlacher, Tillman would remain a Bear.

“If I’m in the front office, I’m trying to give my team the best chance to win. For me as a front-office guy, he gives my team the best chance to win at left or right corner, wherever he is,” Urlacher said. “If I was a GM and I had a chance to sign Charles Tillman before anybody else could sign him, I would love to sign him. Especially if he was with my team for 11 years, I would be happy to keep him on my team with the type of teammate he is and leader. But maybe there are different opinions about that in Chicago. You think about Charles Tillman, you think about a Bear, a guy who pretty much led the Bears through takeaways. When you think about the fumbles and stuff, he’s the guy you think about.” -Urlacher, ESPN Chicago 

One thing to note about Urlacher is that the former linebacker has always been loyal to his Bear teammates. Meaning, it should surprise no one that Urlacher is clamoring for the idea that Tillman makes the Bears the best chance to win. Urlacher’s loyalty may blind him to the fact that Tillman is indeed aging and injuries may begin to take a toll on his performance.

In a league that is consistently finding young lock-down cornerbacks, it is time for the Bears to follow that trend. A trend that may make Urlacher more discontent with his former team.

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Tags: Chicago Bears

  • Charles Hunter

    That what happens when new management comes in.

  • metalhead65

    hey Brian we loved you as player but for the love of god shut up! they are getting rid of lovie’s players because they are getting old and they suck! they had the worst defense in the NFL last year what did you expect them to do? are they suppose to resign and hope all the injured guys come back and play like they did when Lovie had top defenses? they finally have a NFL offense and need a decent defense to go along with it and keeping old players is not going to get it done. we get it you are pissed they did not give you the contract you wanted but you were one of those old injured guys and I did not see anybody else beating down your door to give you the big deal you wanted.

    • John Vassar

      It’s not so much about getting rid of them , but to your point they are now old and on the backside of their careers and expect a big pay day as Free Agents. They are not worth large contracts, and Brian knows this. Look how many teams rushed to sign him after he snubbed the Bears offer, none. The only one that will gotten rid of is Peppers, and his inconsistent play has dictated that move (maybe toss in Bush and oft injured Earl Bennett).

      • metalhead65

        I don’t think they should get rid of bush. it is not his fault he carries the ball what 3-4 times a game and it is always when they need a yard or 2 and they run the same dive play for him and the defense and everybody at the stadium and watching at home knows it. the last 2 games he had big gains on plays that were not dive plays. bennent is injured allot but when he is healthy he is a dependable 3rd. down target. he restructured before the season and met his incentive bonus or at least came very close to them mostly by getting those receptions over the middle. they would not save that much cap space in getting rid of either. do you really think they will bring everybody back but peppers? they have to cut him because he makes way to much money but unless Melton takes a big pay cut how do they resign him and stay under the cap? emery did a great job in making the moves that gave the Bears a actual NFL offense and remain under the cap and I expect him to do the same with the defense this year. with the right free agents combined with the rookies and the development of the young guys who got playing time last year I think they will be much younger and better next season. they simply can’t be any worse!

        • John Vassar

          I agree they can’t be any worse. I think they will re-sign Wooten, Williams and Ratliff. They will try to get Melton on the cheap. Peppers? Unless he takes a big salary cut I just don’t see him there next season. Bennett is a reliable 3rd WR when he plays and might stick around for one more season as we watch the development of Wilson. I don’t disagree with your assessment on Bush. He could be more of a cap casualty than anything. They have Ford in the wings, draft/college FA a RB and reload. Emery has loads of options.

          • Jordan Campbell

            Definitely think Peppers will likely be a cap casualty. He simply is costing the Bears too much for his lack of production. I want Ratliff back. Ratliff performed well during the second half of the season. Williams too, if he can stay healthy, should be brought back.

            There has been a track record of running backs being able to come into games on short yardage plays and convert, but that fact has been lost on Bush. There is no question that he had a down year last season. If the Bears can find a better option, I think they will take it. If not, the team will probably hope for a bounce back season from Bush.

            As for the 3rd WR, I think Marquess Wilson might make a play for that spot in training camp.

  • Leroy Boyd

    I find U’s comments nothing but whining and his continued harping on what the Bears are doing is nothing but a player who felt he was wronged. Getting rid of Lovie’s players hell yea as Many of us know they are old, slow and on the back end of their careers.

    Furthermore if he is trying to prove to his new boss that he can be objective he is not what he is doing is making Bear fans think of him as a complete ass wipe