Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher admitted Thursday that he's been somewhat of a spectator during his team's strong start, but he maintained he could return to an All-Pro level despite a knee injury that he said will never heal.
"My PCL is torn," Urlacher said on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "Of course it's never going to be the same when you have a torn PCL. But that's the ligament you don't need, I guess. It feels different in there, but there's no doubt in my mind I'll be able to be an impact player again. I just have to keep getting better, like I said."
Urlacher sprained -- which by definition means stretching or tearing -- his PCL in last season's finale. He had the knee scoped in the offseason, and there were reports he underwent other procedures. And while the Bears (4-1) lead the NFL with 17 takeaways, including 13 interceptions, Urlacher doesn't have a takeaway and has just 20 tackles through the first five games.
"I've been lucky, because our defense has been playing so well," he said. "I haven't done anything, and look what we've done so far.
"I have to think those plays are going to start coming my way, and when I need to make them, I will. I was put in position to make a lot of plays, some of them I didn't make. There were missed tackles, but there's always missed tackles."
Urlacher, 35, is a free agent after this season, and he confessed that occasionally he contemplates his future. He has said he wants to be a Bear for life, but the team wants to wait until after the season to discuss his future.
Coming off his eighth Pro Bowl selection, Urlacher seemed destined to play a few more years of elite football, until the injury.
"Week to week is how I'm taking it right now," he said. "Of course every once in a while I think about next year and what's going to happen. But there's so much going on right now, so much to do, I'm trying to take it week by week and game by game. It's the politically correct thing to say, so that's what I'm saying."