Urlacher's Ready to Lead Bears Back to Dominance

No longer a 'burden,' 54 is looking to lead the Bears D again

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images
    Brian Urlacher is back from a wrist injury.

    Brian Urlacher went from leading the Bears' defense to feeling like a burden at Halas Hall. After his season-ending wrist injury early last year, Urlacher made himself scarce. 

    "You kind of feel like -- I never had felt this before -- but when you're hurt, you kind of feel like you're kind of like a distraction,"  Urlacher said during an interview with ESPN Chicago. "You don't want to be around. It's just a different feeling, you know. You feel like a burden to people. So you kind of want to be away from them. That's the way I felt. Most people maybe don't feel that way, but I felt like since I wasn't playing, I didn't want to be around that much."

    Consider those days over. Urlacher has looked impressive in training camp in Bourbonnais, keying a Bears defense that if healthy, can be a force in the NFC. The year off hasn't affected Urlacher's athleticism, as he is still quick and able to go after the ball with ferociousness.

    In fact, he said that his wrist injury has made him a better player. Urlacher has always been a constant threat to disrupt offenses, but now he's noticing how to improve the details. Though his dislocated wrist has healed, there is still a chance it will bring him pain. Because of that, he is more aware of how he uses his hands on the field.

    "I'm like, 'Is this gonna hurt?' And it hasn't hurt yet. So it's been good. It hasn't hurt me on the field yet, which is really surprising. It makes me think about using my hands more, actually. This is the best I've used my hands since I've been with [Bears coach Lovie Smith] -- like getting off blocks and moving and getting to the football."

    Urlacher's first test will be on Saturday, when the Bears travel to San Diego to face the Chargers in the pre-season opener.