CHICAGO - AUGUST 30: Brian Urlacher #54 of the Chicago Bears watches from the sidelines as his teammates take on the Cleveland Browns in a preseason game at Soldier Field August 30, 2007 in Chicago, Illinois. The Browns defeated the Bears 19-9. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Brian Urlacher
When the news broke that Brian Urlacher had returned to Halas Hall and would likely play on Sunday, Chicago was relieved.
The man had a performance that earned him the NFL Defensive Player of the Week award last week, and it would be really difficult for the Bears to beat the Saints without him. At the same time, the man just lost his mother, a pain that's not easy to take for even the toughest of football players.
Hearts are heavy around this city, as fans imagine the pain Urlacher must feel. Here are just a few of those sentiments shared on the NBCChicago Facebook page.
It's not unprecedented for a player to not only play, but excel after the loss of a loved one. Brett Favre turned his grief over the loss of his father into one of the best performances of his career. The morning after his father passed away, Favre passed for 399 yards and four touchdowns in a rout of the Raiders. On the other hand, Tiger Woods took a long break to cope with the death of his father and coach before returning to golf. When he did, he won the British Open.
If Urlacher turns in a performance like Favre or if he decides he needs more time like Woods, Chicago will still have his back. His teammates have already signaled how we should treat Urlacher. They've called him the heart and soul of the team. They've said they support him. Lovie Smith said that when his mother passed away earlier this year, Urlacher was one of the first people to call him and offer condolences.
Our players of course are concerned and we’re giving him family time right now. We’re just going to be there to support him in any way that we can and again just be there to help him through a tough time.
Chicago will be no different. If returning to football is what Urlacher needs to do to get through the loss of his mother, then this city should cheer his every move. If he needs to take a break, we will offer him a broad shoulder to cry on.