Bears

Urlacher away from team after death of mother

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Urlacher away from team after death of mother

Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011
Posted: 1:12 p.m. Updated: 4:06 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com Bears Insider Follow @CSNMoonMullin
The family emergency for which Brian Urlacher was called away in the wake of Sundays game was one of the worst.

Urlachers mother Lavoyda passed away and the veteran middle linebacker is with his family.

"My mother, Lavoyda, unexpectedly passed away Monday at her home in Texas, Urlacher said in a statement released by the Bears. My first priority right now is to be with my family as we mourn her loss and make the arrangements to lay her to rest. This is a very difficult and emotional time for us and I sincerely ask that you respect our privacy. Thank you."

Understanding grief

The tragic passing of Urlacher's mother overshadowed some of the mid-week mood ahead of an upcoming game. Players typically begin preparations and film study Wednesday but some of their thoughts were first with their teammate.

Yeah, it's going to be tough for our football team, but we're understanding, said wide receiver Roy Williams. Whoever takes his spot is going to have to play well. My thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family, but he's the emotional leader of this football team, so we've got his back.

Urlacher is expected to be back but the alternatives need to be fully prepared. Those options are rookie Dom DeCicco, a converted safety signed as an undrafted free agent before training camp, and strongside linebacker Nick Roach, himself an undrafted free agent (San Diego, 2007) but who started three games in the middle when Urlacher was out for the season in 2009.

You can't replace that guy and you can't find a guy like that in the league, said quarterback Jay Cutler. He's the heart and soul of this organization and we all know he's going through a tough time right now but we're going to respect his privacy. When he gets back we're here for him.

Added defensive end Israel Idonije, First and foremost is taking care of your family.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

Top 30 free agents of the 2020 NFL offseason

Top 30 free agents of the 2020 NFL offseason

The first phase of the 2020 NFL offseason will kick off on March 18 when the signing period for free agency officially begins. Teams can negotiate with free agents beginning on March 16, and the Bears are expected to be among the cluster of clubs searching for upgrades at several key positions.

GM Ryan Pace is likely to focus his free-agent budget on a veteran quarterback, help along the offensive line, and the secondary where players like Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Prince Amukamara face uncertain futures. There's also the tight end problem, which Pace can use free agency to land a quick fix.

This year's free-agent class his headlined by high-upside yet risky players. Many of the top names are coming off of breakout seasons but have resumes of underwhelming production.

Here's a look at the top 30 free agents scheduled to hit the open market.

Top 30 free agents of the 2020 NFL offseason

Kyle Long looking forward to 'seeing what another set of eyes from a coaching perspective can give Mitch'

Kyle Long looking forward to 'seeing what another set of eyes from a coaching perspective can give Mitch'

Former Bears offensive linemen Kyle Long appeared on The Rap Sheet and Friends podcast hosted by NFL insider Ian Rapoport and he didn't shy away from questions about Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. Long, while stating that he understood the questioning and criticism that Trubisky faces, still believes in him.

"The Bears have won with Mitchell Trubisky."

Indeed Mitch was the starter for 14 games of the Bears 12-4 season before this year's 8-8 disappointment. The issue was Trubisky's play was of course, as he didn't show any noticeable improvement in 2019 after tossing 24 touchdowns in 2018. "We all regressed this year, but unfortunately heavy lies the head that wears the crown, and Mitch is the captain," Long said. 

"Mitch is the quarterback. He’s also suited to take the stuff that he’s gotta deal with, and that’s what I love about Mitch. He can deal with the noise, and he’s young. He’s so young."

Long seems excited by the idea of Chicago's hires, saying that new faces could have quite the positive effect on Trubisky’s game "I’m looking forward to seeing what another set of eyes from a coaching perspective can give Mitch. It’ll be cool to see.”

This offseason the Bears have brought in a new offensive coordinator (Bill Lazor), quarterbacks coach (John DeFilippo), and promoted former quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone to passing game coordinator. Bears head coach Matt Nagy, similar to Long, has faith in Trubisky developing, especially in regard to Ragone. In December Nagy said, “I think I know Mitch better than anybody in this building, except maybe Dave Ragone.”

Long certainly seems to miss his teammates though he clearly has no regrets about his decision. He and Trubisky definitely share a bond that will last long beyond their playing days. “I love the kid, he’s a great friend obviously, a teammate, but I’m looking forward to seeing him develop.”

Similar to the message delivered by the Bears’ front office, Long was in full support of Trubisky throughout the entire interview.

"Mitch is the quarterback. He’s also suited to take the stuff that he’s gotta deal with, and that’s what I love about Mitch. He can deal with the noise...”

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