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Urlacher Opens Up about Mother's Death

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    ATLANTA - OCTOBER 2: Brian Urlacher #54 of the Chicago Bears gets set for a play against the Carolina Panthers at Soldier Field on October 2, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

    Brian Urlacher still pays his late mother's cell phone bill so he can call and listen to her voice mail answering machine.

    "She used to text me all the time," Urlacher said. "So that's been the hardest thing to deal with so far."

    During the ESPN Sunday Conversation interview, the Bears' linebacker spoke at length about his mother, Lavoyda Lenard, for the first time since her death.

    Urlacher told ESPN's Rachel Nichols that his mother, who died at 51, had health problems, but that he still didn't know the cause of her death.

    Urlacher  found out about his mother's death during the week before the Bears' September game at New Orleans.  He said she had a lot of back issues and she smoked heavily, so he wasn't totally surprised to hear of her ailing health.

    But, Urlacher said he was touched by the support he has received from players around the league.

    "I think that just speaks to the kind of person she was, how boisterous and outgoing she was," Urlacher said said to Nichols on ESPN. "The support that we received it was unreal. Guys I'd met before but never talked to and I don't have their phone numbers were texting me, calling me. I got some actual handwritten letters from some player. Some of the guys were in our division, so that was really cool."