Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher plans to avoid playing in the preseason in order to make the regular season opener on Sept. 9, as Bears beat writer Zach Zaidman reports. Urlacher says that his only priority is to be healthy for the regular season, so he doesn't want to take any risks in essentially meaningless games:
I'd love to be out there, but I'm not going to put myself in jeopardy of missing the first game.
Urlacher, 34, suffered a serious knee injury in Chicago's 2011 season finale against the Minnesota Vikings, and he's been recovering all offseason. Progress has generally be steady, but he's missed numerous practices over the past few weeks during training camp, leaving concern that he could miss the beginning of the season.
Without Urlacher, the Bears would be missing the heart and soul of their defense, one of the best linebackers in the entire NFL. Even with his advancing age, he's still one of the most important players on Chicago's roster, so it's not surprising to see some caution as the season opener nears.
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