- Michael C. Wright, ESPN Staff Writer
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher ignored all the coverage stemming from the incident last Thursday involving quarterback Jay Cutler and J’Marcus Webb, and characterized the alteration as being akin to a mere “fight at practice.”
“You guys probably see us fight in training camp every year. So what?” Urlacher asked. “After the practice is over you are in the locker room and you’re buddies again. It’s not a big deal. You lose your emotions sometimes out there. You get mad, but once it’s over with it’s over with. We spend a lot of time around each other. So we better get rid of it real quick. It’s going to be a long season if we don’t."
Asked about the national fallout and the week of controversy stemming from an incident involving Cutler and Webb, Urlacher came up with a question of his own: “Who cares?”
“I didn’t pay attention to (the coverage of) it locally or nationally,” Urlacher said. “Everyone was asking me about it, but I still haven’t seen what happened, and I don’t really care what happened. Whatever happened, it’s over with now. We moved on. It doesn’t seem to be an issue. Someone told me there was a mutiny against Jay in the locker room. If there was, I didn’t know about it. I guess we’re supposed to be mad at him. But things happen on the sideline. That’s just the way it goes. People get mad. I’ve gotten into spats with coaches, players, as well. It’s just what happens in the NFL. People get (ticked) off and sometimes do things we shouldn’t do, but it happened.”
Having missed all of training camp as he continues to recover from arthroscopic knee surgery in August, Urlacher admits he’s not quite at the level he needs to be, but says he’s pleased with his progression as the Bears prepare for Sunday’s matchup against the St. Louis Rams.
“The more I’m out there, the better I’m going to get,” Urlacher said. “The more I get out there, the more practice, the better off I’ll be; just seeing things and getting back into it. That’s what I expect. I expect to get better every week.”
Urlacher played fewer than half the club’s snaps (29 of 66) in the opener against the Indianapolis Colts. His snap count jumped dramatically in Week 2, with Urlacher participating in all 68 defensive plays last Thursday in the Bears’ loss to the Green Bay Packers.
After producing two tackles in the opener, Urlacher generated 11 (according to coaches’ stats) against the Packers. According to Pro Football Focus, Urlacher has missed just one tackle in two outings.
So with 10 days off to rest coming off a four-day turnaround between the opener and the loss at Green Bay, Urlacher expects to make a more significant leap in recovering from the arthroscopic knee procedure that forced him out for virtually all of training camp and the preseason. Urlacher said the knee “feels fine.”
As for the upcoming matchup with the Rams, Urlacher believes coach Lovie Smith has instilled the proper mentality that should allow for the Bears to bounce back from their 23-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers. The Bears typically rebound well after suffering disappointing defeats.
“Coach Smith has us have the right attitude about it. It’s a work week for us. We got our butts kicked. We know that, but we’ve got to come back this week,” Urlacher said. “Everyone in our division is 1-1. So that’s a good thing, we’re not too far behind anyone. It’s not as bad as you think it is, and it’s not as good as you think it is. It’s early in the season, but for some reason we play well when we have our backs against the wall. We play better. We should play like that every week, though.’’