Former Chicago Bears player Brian Urlacher inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame

FILE - In this Monday, Nov. 19, 2012 file photo, Chicago Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher (54) and outside linebacker Lance Briggs (55) warm up before an NFL football game. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Brian Urlacher has become a record-28th Chicago Bear inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

A first-year nominee who filled the tradition of great middle linebackers in the Windy City so brilliantly, Urlacher actually was a safety at New Mexico. Chicago selected him ninth overall in the 2000 draft and immediately converted him to linebacker. He spent two weeks in training camp on the outside, then was moved inside - for 13 spectacular seasons.

"I love everything about football: the friendships, the coaches, the teachers, the challenges, the opportunity to excel. I loved going to work every day for 13 years," said the 2000 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and 2005 Defensive Player of the Year, a season in which Urlacher had 171 tackles.

The Bears won four division titles and one conference championship with Urlacher, their career tackles leader who also had 41 1/2 sacks and 22 interceptions. The five-time All-Pro and member of the 2000s NFL All-Decade Team even did some work on special teams.

But it was in the heart of the defense where he shone.

"The most coveted position for a defensive player to play is middle linebacker for the Chicago Bears," said Urlacher, who had to hold back tears several times. "Just think about it. I hope over my 13 seasons I made you Bears fans proud."
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