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Cowboys' Colombo, Ex-Bear, Returns Today; Key Game For Both Teams

The Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Potash profiles Marc Colombo, the Bears’ No. 1 pick in 2002, and uses him as an example of how he thinks the entire Bears system is broken:

When the Bears had Colombo, even Dr. James Andrews couldn’t figure it out. But with the Cowboys, Colombo started 57 consecutive games for one of the best offenses in the NFL until suffering a broken leg in November.

Maybe that’s just life in the NFL. But Colombo isn’t the only player the Bears couldn’t seem to return to old form. Offensive tackle Mike Gandy was cut in 2004 at least in part because of chronic aches and pains — to make room for Colombo, speaking of ironies — and ended up starting 79 consecutive games for the Bills and Cardinals, including Super Bowl XLIII. Tommie Harris hasn’t been the same since getting injured. Remember Mike Brown? Nathan Vasher?

So when it comes to Colombo, it leads me to wonder: What did the Cowboys do that the Bears couldn’t?

The answer, as best I can tell, is Joe Juraszek, a native South Sider (St. Rita ’76) who roots for the Cubs and is the Cowboys’ strength and conditioning coach. The Cowboys have had an enviable record on player injuries and rehabilitation since Juraszek joined the team in 1997. The Cowboys had the fewest games missed by starters (14) in the NFL last season. They were one of two teams that did not have a player on injured reserve.

So is it Jerry Angelo? Lovie Smith? The Bears’ entire culture? How did the Bears make the Super Bowl in 2006 and go into a tailspin after that?

The Cowboys didn’t look great in their opening game against a not-so-good Redskins team and stand at 0-1 going into their home opener this afternoon. It’s a pivotal game for both the Cowboys and Bears.