Bears notebook: Brent Urban rockin’ and rollin’ as valuable defensive line sub
With big plays punctuated by air-guitar celebrations — a nod to Duane Allman and a tribute to Eddie Van Halen — the 6-7, 300-pound Urban is making the most of his role in the Bears’ top-10 defense.
In a reserve role, Bears defensive tackle Brent Urban has made a name for himself.
“Mr. Guitar Rock-out Solo,” teammate Akiem Hicks called him after Urban’s air-guitar celebrations following a sack of Philip Rivers against the Colts on Oct. 4 and a tackle-for-loss against the Buccaneers last week.
The 6-7, 300-pound Urban, who signed with the Bears last season after being cut by the Titans, is making the most of a niche role in the Bears’ top-10 defense. His sack of Rivers forced the Colts to settle for a field goal. He dropped Bucs running back Ronald Jones for a two-yard loss that helped force a punt that gave the Bears the opportunity for the winning field goal drive. But it’s his celebrations that caught people’s attention.
“I kind of had that in my back pocket,” said Urban, who started 19 games in four seasons with the Ravens, who drafted him in the fourth round in 2014. “I’m a big energy guy. Especially with no fans, I’m trying to make it fun and have my teammates feed off me. I’ve got a couple more celebrations in the back pocket here. But that’s one I definitely wanted to show.”
Urban was channeling his inner Duane Allman, a nod to the Allman Brothers Band guitarist and founder who died nearly 20 years before Urban was born. He celebrated a tackle-for-loss against the Buccaneers with a point to the sky — a tribute to Eddie Van Halen, who died the previous day.
“My favorite guitarist is Duane Allman … I’m a huge fan,” Urban said. “I don’t know if he played as crazy as I was celebrating, but I get a little juiced up. So if I could mimic one, it’d be him.”
Urban thrives on emotion. With the Ravens in 2015, he was benched by coach John Harbaugh during an OTA when he celebrated a non-contact “sack” after getting too close to the quarterback. But that excitement makes him tick — a valuable asset for a player who has to make an impact in limited reps in a rotation with Akiem Hicks, Bilal Nichols, Roy Robertson-Harris and Mario Edwards.
“It’s great,” he said of the production as a role player. “I think you need a great rotation of d-lineman to be successful in this league and I’m just thankful to be on this team. I’m in a spot where they can count on me in tough situations in the game to produce and there won’t be a drop-off when Akiem, Bilal and Roy come off the field.”
John Jenkins back
The Bears activated defensive tackle John Jenkins off the injured reserve list and listed him as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Panthers.
Jenkins suffered a torn ligament in his thumb against the Giants on Sept. 20. Daniel McCullers, who was signed off the Steelers’ practice squad to replace Jenkins, was put on the Bears’ practice squad.
Panther on COVID-19 list
The Panthers put back-up center Tyler Larsen on the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19 list Friday.
Larsen played five special teams snaps last week against the Falcons, who put one of their defensive linemen, Marlon Davidson, on the same list Tuesday. Davidson played 12 defensive snaps and five special teams downs in their game.
Safety Deon Bush (hamstring) is out for the Panthers game. Special teams ace Sherrick McManis (hamstring), Urban (shoulder) and guard Alex Bars (shoulder) are questionable. All three had full participation in Friday’s practice.