Bears

Brian Urlacher considering 3 Bears coaches if he needs presenter for HOF induction

Brian Urlacher considering 3 Bears coaches if he needs presenter for HOF induction

Brian Urlacher dealt with no shortage of difficult decisions in his distinguished 13-year Bears career. Not many caused him as much difficulty as the one that would confront him if he is voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.

The “crisis” call: Who would present Urlacher for induction into the Hall of Fame?

Maybe it’s bad luck to think that far ahead, but maybe it’s also natural. In any case, Urlacher is torn between three possibilities (“I only get to have one?” he said, laughing, but not completely):

Lovie Smith — Bears coach from 2004-2012

Bob Babich — Linebackers coach under Smith as well as — at times — defensive coordinator and assistant head coach from 2004-2012

Greg Blache — Dick Jauron’s defensive coordinator from 1999-2003, who moved Urlacher to middle linebacker.

“Those three are the ones who had the biggest impact on my career,” Urlacher said.

And no sooner had he mentioned those three favorites than another — Rod Marinelli, Bears defensive coordinator for Urlacher’s final three seasons — came to mind as Urlacher recalled those who helped him become what he became.

“I thought I could do anything for him,” Urlacher said, then reflected. “We had a lot of players who overshot their abilities because of those coaches.”

Smith was the architect of the Tampa-2 defensive scheme that changed/”downsized” the protective four-man wall in front of Urlacher but also expanded his areas of responsibility and his opportunities for impact. Urlacher had six interceptions and 19 passes defensed in his first four seasons. From 2004-08, with seven games missed in ’04 with hamstring injuries, he grabbed 11 interceptions and broke up 43 passes.

“Lovie let me be an athlete,” Urlacher said, “let me play football.”

Blache brought Urlacher through the early years, while Babich — “Bullet Bob” to his players — combined with Smith to unleash Urlacher to another level.

“Bob is like my dad,” Urlacher said. “I talk to him all the time. Playing football for him, I could do anything — well, almost anything — I wanted to, and he wasn’t going to get mad at me. And he’d listen to me. So would Lovie. And I appreciated that. Same with Rod Marinelli.”

Bears coaches have been scarce among HOF presenters for recent Bears inductees:

HOF inductee          Presented by

Dan Hampton           Ed O’Bradovich, former Bear

Richard Dent             Joe Gilliam, Dent’s Tennessee State coach

Mike Singletary         Kim Singletary (wife)

Jim Finks                   Ed McCaskey

Walter Payton           Jarrett Payton (son)

Stan Jones                Bob Kilculen, former Bear

Mike Ditka                 Ed O’Bradovich, former Bears teammate

Week 3 injury report: Eddy Pineiro questionable

Week 3 injury report: Eddy Pineiro questionable

It appears the Bears will face a little more uncertainty in Monday night's contest with the Redskins than originally anticipated. The team released an updated Week 3 injury report Saturday that lists four key players -- Trey Burton (groin), Eddie Jackson (shoulder/knee), Kyle Long (hip) and, in a late-week turn of events, Eddy Pineiro (knee) -- as questionable:

Eddie Goldman, who was limited in practice on Thursday with an oblique injury, was a full participant Friday and Saturday and does not have an injury designation in the most recent report.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.

Eddy Pineiro’s leg injury throws Bears’ kicking status into flux, again

Eddy Pineiro’s leg injury throws Bears’ kicking status into flux, again

Bears kicker Eddy Pineiro was a surprise addition to the team’s injury report Saturday afternoon, and is officially listed as questionable for Monday night’s game against Washington with a right leg injury.

Coach Matt Nagy sounded optimistic the injury is “minor” in nature, and said despite feeling some pain Pineiro did kick in practice on Saturday. But the mere inclusion of him on the injury report raises concerns about the Bears’ kicking situation only six days after it appeared to have been solved with Pineiro’s game-winning 53-yard kick against the Denver Broncos.

“I think what we’ve got to do as these days go by let’s just see where he’s at,” Nagy said. “I’m going to be on the cautious side with him and we’ll just kind of feel out the pain part and if it’s something that’s going to affect him, then we’ll have a decision to make. If not — hopefully he’ll be okay.”

Nagy said the injury occurred in the weight room at Halas Hall, and stressed the cautious approach he and the Bears’ training staff is taking to Pineiro. And the Bears’ coach consistently presented an optimistic outlook for Pineiro when answering questions from the media on Saturday.

Still, if Pineiro cannot play on Monday, the Bears will be in a bind. Punter Pat O’Donnell has never attempted a field goal in his NFL or college career, though Nagy did say O’Donnell “has some experience.” The most recent memory of O’Donnell working on field goals came during halftime of a loss to the San Francisco 49ers in 2017, when then-kicker Cairo Santos was hurt, though he didn’t attempt a kick in the second half of that contest. 

“I don’t want to rush to judgment yet,” Nagy said. “That’s not where we’re at. I really do think that we’ll be okay. We just want to make sure that we’re doing everything the right way with him, with his pain, and we’ve got to communicate with him, see how he feels, and it’s probably going to be one of those deals where in a couple days where he’s at and we’ve got to make a decision.”

So all of a sudden, Pineiro’s status will be critical to monitor in the hours leading up to Monday night’s game (the Bears have to submit inactive players 90 minutes before kickoff). If Pineiro is unable to play, will the Bears actually use O’Donnell for field goals? Or will Nagy lean into his aggressive nature and try to convert fourth downs and two-point conversions?

It feels disappointing for the Bears to even have to entertain these questions at this point. If Nagy’s optimism proves to be founded, the Bears won’t have an issue Monday night. But if they do, it’ll put plenty of pressure on a sputtering offense to make sure a game against a winless team doesn’t come down to another kick.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.