Expected to sit out the remainder of the regular season with a Grade 2 hamstring strain, Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher will now be unable to suit up for all 16 games for only the third time in his illustrious 13-year year career.
After playing the first 64 games since entering the league as a first-round draft pick out of New Mexico, Urlacher missed seven games in 2004 with both hamstring and leg injuries. He went on to start 64 consecutive games with the Bears from 2005-08 immediately after, before a dislocated right wrist in Week 1 the following year limited him to just one game in 2009. And as Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com points out, Urlacher's outstanding durability allowed him to then go on to play in all 16 regular-season games in 10 of his first 12 years in the league.
An eight-time Pro Bowler, Urlacher hopes to be ready for a possible Bears playoff run if the current standings hold true. His return in the postseason could offer a huge boost for a Chicago defense that was torched by rookie Russell Wilson through the air in Week 13. With Urlacher unable to play in the coming weeks though, the organization opted to make a quick move on Tuesday by signing linebacker Dom DeCicco on a two-year deal and waiving injured linebacker Patrick Trahan. The 24-year-old DeCicco finished second on the team in special teams tackles last season and is expected to add much-needed depth with Urlacher on the shelf.