Linebacker hurt hamstring in training camp

Updated: October 14, 2004, 4:22 PM ET
Associated Press

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Brian Urlacher, who'd never missed a game in his four-year career before sitting out the past two with a sore hamstring, hopes to play Sunday against the Washington Redskins.

Brian Urlacher
Urlacher

The Chicago Bears' four-time Pro Bowl linebacker has been practicing this week and is eager to get back.

It's been a frustrating run for Urlacher, who hurt the hamstring in the first practice of training camp and missed the entire preseason.

He started the first two regular-season games against Detroit and Green Bay, making 14 tackles in each one with a sack and a forced fumble.

Then the injury tightened up and his string of 64 straight starts ended when he couldn't go against the Vikings on Sept. 26. He also missed a game against the Eagles on Oct. 10.

"Just practicing and all of a sudden it didn't feel right and they didn't think it would be a good idea to put me back out there," Urlacher said Thursday. "We decided it was a good idea that I didn't play."

Urlacher said he's more pain-free this week than he was before the opener against the Lions.

"It was just sore back then. I hadn't run in five weeks. I got to run last week and then I got to practice this week, so I feel a little better. I'm not sore at all," he said.

The Bears take a 1-3 record into Sunday's game, and his teammates have been saying what an impact Urlacher has on the defense.

"When you have a good player, you want to come up to his level of play. He leads by example," Bears defensive end Adewale Ogunleye said.

"It's hard to sit on the sideline and watch when you want to be out there helping your team win, but it's still early in the season," Urlacher said, adding he won't be worried about reinjuring himself or being tentative Sunday.

He just needs the work in practice to get ready.

"I don't get as many reps as I'd like because I'm not in shape yet," he said. "I need to take it easy for a while. But I feel good. I can run around and do all the things I used to be able to do."


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press