English author Samuel Johnson once said, “While grief is fresh, every attempt to divert only irritates. You must wait till it be digested, and then amusement will dissipate the remains of it.” It sounds like something Brian Urlacher is going to have to keep in mind in the coming months. Rick Telendar at the Chicago-Sun-Times elaborates:
“Indeed, [Urlacher's] in a bit of that hallucinatory It’s over/I’m not done! stage. He says he’ll never come back to football. Then he lets this slip in the [TV host Dave] Dameshek interview: ‘My body feels good. Mentally I feel good. I’m excited to run out there and go through the grind of training camp and do stuff like that.’
“Then he reverses field. ‘I’m sure I’ll miss it,’ he says. ‘’But right now I don’t miss it at all.’’
“When he’ll miss it is when training camp starts at the end of July, when the Bears take the field for preseason games, when the Green Bay Packers show up, when the air gets crisp and the tailgates are in full charcoal heaven. He’s never done anything else in the fall.
“He’ll feel the pain then. Not in his knees or back or shoulders or his once-busted wrist.
“He’ll feel it in his heart. Because — you never know — the Bears might win it all without him.”
I haven’t been able to muster much sympathy for Urlacher over the past couple months. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for all of the years of effort for the team. But I’ve been more than a little upset that he chose to be insulted when the Bears offered him an above market level deal. As far as I can tell, he still blames the Bears, specifically GM Phil Emery, for his departure despite that. How he comes to that conclusion is beyond me. Though Telendar tries to explain it all as a stage of grief where, like many players, Urlacher can’t accept that its over, I honestly don’t think it had to be over. I think the guy can still play. No one – not me, not anyone I know – really understands it.
I guess when you come right down to it, the truth is that Urlacher’s not the only one who’s been grieving. I’ve personally been stuck at anger. But I always knew I’d eventually get past it and, in reading this article, I’ve come to realize that the reality of Urlacher’s situation is about to hit home for for both him and us. I still don’t understand it but I think I’ve finally made it to acceptance. Here’s hoping Urlacher manages to do the same soon.
Rest in peace, Brian.