Our Pledge To You

Bears

Brian Urlacher receives gold jacket ahead of Hall of Fame enshrinement

CANTON, Ohio — In a prelude to his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday night, Brian Urlacher received his gold jacket from his presenter, former Bears linebackers coach Bob Babich, at the Hall of Fame’s Gold Jacket Dinner Friday night.

“I think it pretty much means that I’m in now, right,” Urlacher joked. “It feels great to put this jacket on. I put it on when we first got it for about 10 seconds because I wanted it to be special tonight.”

Urlacher and the seven other honorees — Ray Lewis, Randy Moss, Bobby Beathard, Robert Brazile, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer and Terrell Owens (in absentia) — will officially be enshrined in a ceremony Saturday night.

Urlacher wasn’t overly emotional as a player, but that could change when he officially becomes a Hall of Famer.

Brian Urlacher waves to the crowd after receiving his gold jacket during the Pro Football Hall of Fame Gold Jacket Dinner on Friday in Canton, Ohio. Scott Heckel/The Canton Repository

Brian Urlacher waves to the crowd after receiving his gold jacket during the Pro Football Hall of Fame Gold Jacket Dinner on Friday in Canton, Ohio. Scott Heckel/The Canton Repository

“I don’t know,” he said. “When I read [the speech] and go over it, I’m OK. But when I get up there? You’ve got to remember there are going to be all these guys behind me telling me, ‘Cry, cry, cry.’ I hope not. But it’s going to be hard when I’m talking about my mom. I hope I can fight [the tears] back, but we’ll see.”

A lone regret

While Lewis won two Super Bowl rings with the Ravens (in 2000 and 2012), Urlacher lost his only Super Bowl to the Colts in the 2006-07 season. The Bears led 7-0 and 14-6 and were within 22-17 in the fourth quarter before losing 29-17. But Urlacher was satisfied with his career.

RELATED STORIES
• Bears’ preseason opener: Four players who stood out in Hall of Fame Game
• On a path that offered other options, Brian Urlacher takes his biggest step yet

“I regret not winning the Super Bowl. We squandered that opportunity,” Urlacher said. “The thing is, you think you’re going to get back, and it’s hard to get back to that game. We never got back. But playing-wise, no [regrets]. I feel like I did it the right way. I had fun when I was out there. I had fun in the locker room. Just enjoyed it.”

Character counts

Former Bears defensive coordinator Greg Blache, Urlacher’s first coordinator in the NFL, is in Canton for the enshrinement. He admired Urlacher’s rare combination of size, speed and athleticism but also his character.

“I admire his ability to be a great person to anybody he meets,” said Blache, who coached under Dick Jauron from 1999 to 2003.

“He always wanted to be the best player, but also the best teammate he could be. He’d welcome rookies. He’d talk to everybody — he didn’t care if you were the president or the janitor. And he would always smile. If there was a Hall of Fame for people, he’d have to be inducted into that one, too. Because he is that kind of person.”

Want your Bears training-camp update without delay? Each day of summer practice, Sun-Times Bears beat writers Patrick Finley, Adam L. Jahns and Mark Potash will share exclusive insights on the workout and interviews in a livestream conversation 1 p.m. daily through Aug. 12. Catch their live analysis and ask questions on Twitter @suntimes_sports or follow Sun-Times Sports on Periscope to be notified of each live report.