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Wednesday, May 23, 2012
BBAO: Brian Urlacher's long recovery

By Kevin Seifert

We're Black and Blue All Over:

Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher confirmed Tuesday night that he isn't likely to participate in organized team activities (OTAs) -- and probably not veteran minicamp, either -- as he rehabilitates a sprained knee suffered in a Week 17 game against the Minnesota Vikings. Urlacher told reporters that he expects to be ready to start training camp, a completely reasonable schedule that nevertheless highlights one of the few holes on the team's roster.

Namely: Who would play for Urlacher if he was injured during the regular season?

According to's Jeff Dickerson, second-year linebacker Dom DeCicco -- an undrafted free agent in 2011 -- will take the majority of snaps during the offseason. If nothing else, the Bears should know at the end of the spring whether DeCicco is capable of filling in for Urlacher in a regular-season environment, or whether they would need to look elsewhere. Finding a long-term replacement for Urlacher, 33, remains one of the most important challenges facing this franchise.

Continuing around the NFC North: