Bears coach Lovie Smith expects Brian Urlacher to return from his knee injury for the team's season opener Sept. 9 against Indianapolis.
Urlacher hasn't taken part in a full pads practice since the end of July, and won't play in the team's preseason finale against Cleveland. But it seems his balky left knee is on the mend, and the team plans on the 34-year-old being on the field, as usual, for Chicago when the season starts.
"Brian is making a lot of progress," Smith said. "I expect to see No. 54 out on the field next week in practice and playing against the Colts."
There's a little bit of a drop off from the defensive legend to his backup, Dom DeCicco, who was undrafted out of Pitt in 2011. The Bears would likely opt to play Nick Roach as middle linebacker if Urlacher were unable to play when the season started, but it doesn't seem as if contingency plans are necessary as Urlacher returns to playing shape.
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