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Brian Urlacher said the booing of the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field is "unbelievable," and he defended coach Lovie Smith against critics who believe that the team needs a new head coach.
Urlacher, nursing a hamstring injury, didn't play Sunday as the Bears suffered their fifth loss in their past six games. The Green Bay Packers clinched the NFC North with a 21-13 victory, while the Bears are in danger of missing the playoffs for the fifth time in the past six seasons.
"Our crowd was pretty good today for the most part," Urlacher said Sunday during his weekly segment on Fox Chicago. "They were loud for a minute there. The boos were really loud, which is always nice. The only team in our division to get booed at home is us. It's unbelievable to me."
Bears safety Chris Conte also tweeted a message to fans just after the loss.
"We have two must win games left," Conte tweeted. "We need all the support we can get. if u aren't with us then you are against us. Real bear fans #beardown."
Urlacher was not optimistic things will change.
"It's not going to change," he said. "If we talk about it, then the media says, 'You're blaming the fans for losing. You're doing this. You're blaming the refs for losing.' We lost that football game. Every football game we play in, we lose, it's nobody's fault but ours, but we're allowed to say what we want."
The boos were really loud, which is always nice. The only team in our division to get booed at home is us. It's unbelievable to me.” -- Brian Urlacher
to FOX Chicago
Urlacher went on to address that many fans and media are calling for a coaching change.
"Two of the people I don't care about, fans or the media," Urlacher said. "They can say what they want to about our head coach, about our players. It does bother me because those people don't know what they're talking about, obviously.
"I know there are a bunch of experts in the media, and there are a bunch of smart guys out there who know exactly what they're talking about all the time. But they don't know what they're talking about."
Urlacher praised Smith's style of not calling out players in public.
"People don't see it," he said. "That's the way we like it as players. He's not going to call somebody out, a player out in front of the people. He'll do it privately, which is the way it should be handled. He's not one of those coaches who's going to go out and yell and scream at you. That's just not his style, and we appreciate that.
"We know when it's time to play. We just haven't played well. It's not his fault. He can't go out there and do it for us. We have to do it ourselves."
Smith said Monday morning he hadn't heard Urlacher's comments, but he vouched for the linebacker's character and motivation.
"It would be hard for me to respond to those comments when I haven't heard the comments. I just know who Brian Urlacher is," Smith said. "I know he loves being a Chicago Bear. He's helped us win a lot of football games around here. He's a leader. I know he's disappointed like we all are right now about the position we were in yesterday. He's going to come to work this week getting ready for Arizona."
Quarterback Jay Cutler took a different approach Monday.
"Frustration sets in," he said during "The Jay Cutler Show" on ESPN 1000. "You're at a point in the season when you're on a little skid. I know Brian's frustrated he can't be out there and help us, and do that. So I think everyone in that locker room is supporting Lovie and we'll see what happens.
"That's the last of our worries. We have to worry about Arizona."
As far as the fans and media, Cutler said he understands the criticism, and he said fans in Chicago are fair.
"I'm jaded by it," Cutler said. "I don't understand why we're going to get frustrated with it at this point.
"The fans they have a reason to boo, we're not playing well. You can't blame them. The media, we're giving them a lot of ammo right now, guys are doing a lot of talking and we're not playing very well. At the end of the day, it falls back on us."
Urlacher also had a problem with some of the officiating. Bears rookie receiver Alshon Jeffery had three pass interference penalties called against him.
"We lost the football game," Urlacher said on Fox. "The Bears lost that football game, but we damn sure didn't get any help from the refs. We didn't get any. The same guy calls three penalties on Alshon. The same damn guy calls three penalties on Alshon. Late in the game I thought he could have called one on the other guy, but he didn't call it. Maybe Alshon beat his school up in college. I don't know. Maybe he didn't like him, he had something against him."
There was also a roughing-the-passer penalty on Julius Peppers, who hit Aaron Rodgers on a key third-and-seven play in the fourth quarter. Rodgers had thrown an incompletion on the play.
"The penalty on Pep, I don't understand," Urlacher said. "I don't know what you're supposed to do anymore. He deliberately hit him with his shoulder, could have hit him with his head, in his shoulder and knocks him down."