Brian Urlacher had a word of the day Friday for the Chicago Bears' first day of veteran minicamp. Fielding 11 questions from the media at Halas Hall, the team's All-Pro linebacker repeatedly used "mandatory" in offering answers.
Brian Urlacher had a word of the day Friday for the Chicago Bears' first day of veteran minicamp.
Fielding 11 questions from the media at Halas Hall, the team's All-Pro linebacker repeatedly used "mandatory" in offering answers.
That's why he's here, he said several times.
"Everyone's supposed to be here," he said.
When it gets down to voluntary organized team activities (OTAs) after this weekend's three-day camp, though, he was noncommittal.
"Not sure. Possibly. Maybe. Yes," he said. "One of those answers."
The TV cameras and microphones were thrust in his face because he's skipped OTAs to this point because he wants his contract renegotiated. Had he missed minicamp, he possibly could have had to forfeit as much as a reported $5.77 million of his signing bonus while facing daily fines of more than $8,000.
Head coach Lovie Smith didn't seem concerned as to whether his defensive leader would show up.
"It's not like Brian has been out of the country," Smith said. "We've communicated with him.
"He's always staying in great shape. He's a freak of nature as far as athletic ability is concerned. We saw the old Brian Urlacher."
A healthy Urlacher, by everyone's assessment including his own. He's coming off back concerns and neck surgery.
"I feel great," he said. "It hasn't been an issue. It feels good to be back, running around, playing football again and getting around my teammates. I haven't seen them in a while."
Fellow linebacker Lance Briggs, who similarly sought a reworked contract last season, said he can't offer Urlacher any contact advice.
"He already understands. He's been in the league a lot longer than I have," he said. "It's good having Brian back out. I don't have to lead the drills any more. I like being behind Brian. Brian looks like the same young guy running around, having fun, making calls, yelling and cussing at us."
Urlacher avoided contact talk, saying it's his job to "come here and play and participate in the mandatory stuff, and that's what I've done."
Defensive end Alex Brown said the team "can't let that affect us here" about Urlacher's situation.
"When it came down to it, Urlacher was here. He's here, he's going to get that side taking care of. We support him."
Reed Schreck is the NFL writer for the Rockford Register Star. Reach him at 815-987-1381 or firstname.lastname@example.org.