Brian Urlacher Is the Comeback Kid - NBC Chicago
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Brian Urlacher Is the Comeback Kid



    The Bears defense is back at the top of the NFL, and one of the biggest reasons for  its renaissance is the health and resurgence of Brian Urlacher.

    The 32-year-old linebacker is back to form after missing most of last season with a wrist injury. The middle-line backer sould be the NFL's best choice for Comeback Player of the Year.

    Early in his career, Urlacher was to be feared on every single snap. He could hunt down quarterbacks, tackles running backs before they took a step, intercept any ball thrown and force fumbles with ease. These skills earned him the defensive Rookie of the Year in 2000, defensive Player of the Year in 2005 and six Pro Bowl appearances.

    But as he aged, Urlacher slowed. Even before hurting his wrist against the Packers in the first game of the 2009 season, he had the worst season in his career. In 2008, he had his first full season with less than 100 tackles. He didn't accumulate any sacks or force a single fumble.

    Now, after a season spent rehabbing his wrist and the addition of Julius Peppers, Urlacher is back to running down offenses, and now has the experience of 10-year veteran.

    He is playing smart football, enabling his teammates to be effective, while also compiling pretty impressive numbers of his own. Urlacher has 67 tackles, three sacks, an interception and a forced fumble.

    The most impressive and most important statistic, though, is that Urlacher is leading the best defense in the league. They are tied with the Packers for points allowed, and are just behind the Giants and Chargers for yards allowed per game. The Bears defense has made it possible for the Bears to win even with an inconsistent offense.

    Urlacher has not only come back from a season-ending injury, but he has done so with the toughness that made him great in the first place. He deserves to have one more award on that mantle.