Bears cautious with Brian Urlacher

Updated: September 9, 2012, 7:35 PM ET
By Jeff Dickerson | ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher wasn't happy about coach Lovie Smith's decision to pull him early in a 41-21 victory over the Indianapolis Colts, but he said, "I do what he says."

Smith pulled Urlacher, who missed almost the entire preseason after he re-injured his left knee early in training camp, with 10:02 remaining and the Bears leading 34-14.

"That was a changeup," said Urlacher, who faces a quick turnaround with a Thursday night game against the Green Bay Packers next. "No, I don't like coming out of the game. But that's the head coach. I do what he says."

Smith said he expected that kind of reaction out of Urlacher, who practiced on Wednesday and Friday and was listed as probable on the injury report.

"Brian wanted to play the entire game," Smith said. "When we told him he was coming out it's not like he told us that was a great idea. He knows that there's a big picture. We wanted to get him a little bit of work. It's his first action. It's like in a preseason game; you're not going to let a guy go that entire time unless you have to, and we didn't have to today."

Urlacher was credited with two total tackles but said his left knee held up fine in his first game action since the 2011 regular-season finale.

"I felt good," Urlacher said. "I had no issues moving around. No pain, nothing like that. Felt good. Stupid brace (on the left knee) was there, but that was about it."

Nick Roach replaced Urlacher in the middle while Geno Hayes entered the game at strong-side linebacker for much of the second half.

Meanwhile, Bears cornerback Charles Tillman left the game with a leg injury in the second quarter and did not return.

Tillman was unavailable for comment in the postgame locker room but fellow cornerback Tim Jennings believes the injury to the 2011 Pro Bowler was not serious.

"I was kind of concerned, but I spoke with him and he said he was going to be fine," Jennings said. "He said he's going to get some treatment on it. It's nothing serious we have to worry about. He's going to rest it and take as much time as he needs.

"We know we have a big game coming up. Come Wednesday, and he feels like he can't go, now it will be an issue for us. But right now, he says he feels fine, and he's going to give it a go and see how it goes throughout the week. I'm not really worried right now."

Tillman has been a model of durability throughout his NFL career, last missing a regular-season game in 2009. He has started 126 games since he entered the league in 2003 as a Bears' second-round draft choice.

Veteran reserve Kelvin Hayden replaced Tillman at cornerback for the rest of the afternoon. Hayden has plenty of experience, starting a combined 47 games for the Colts and Atlanta Falcons.

If Tillman is out for Week 2, Hayden would get the nod when the Bears travel to Green Bay.

"It is what it is, it's nothing new to me," Hayden said about the possibility of starting against the Packers. "It is a short week and whenever you have a short week it is a challenge. I think we have an experienced veteran group that is ready to respond to the challenge."

Jeff Dickerson | email

Chicago Bears beat reporter
Dickerson has been the Bears beat reporter for ESPN Chicago since 2004. He also hosts weeknight radio shows on ESPN 1000.

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