Brian Urlacher's durability is one of the reasons he is a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame. In 12 seasons with the Bears, he has missed just 22 games, and 15 came in 2009 due to a broken wrist. Durability comes at a price, though. Urlacher talked about how he, like most NFL players, has used pain-killing injections of Toradol, a non-narcotic, non-addictive drug that is at the heart of a lawsuit from former NFL players.
"First of all we love football," Urlacher said to HBO's "Real Sports. "We want to be on the field as much as we can be. If we can be out there, it may be stupid, it may be dumb, call me dumb and stupid then because I want to be on the football field."
He later clarified his comments, telling the Chicago Tribune that he doesn't use Toradol often, and the Bears staff limits its use around the team.
“I’ll take it if I have an ankle or a shoulder (injury), but I don’t just take them to take them. From what I understand, some guys just take them to take them. They take them every game because they can’t play without them. I don’t know anyone on our team that’s like that.”
Former NFL players have sued the league over Toradol and its widespread use in locker rooms. A group including Joe Horn, Matt Joyce and Scott Dragos, who played 15 games for the Bears in 2000 and 2001, allege the league did not warn them of Toradol's side effects, which include anxiety, depression, short-term memory loss and severe headaches.
The Bears staff will prescribe the drug, given as a pill or injection, on a case-by-case basis. Players with certain stomach and kidney troubles are prohibited from taking the shot.