Urlacher attends voluntary workouts with Bears' D for first time this offseason
"Any time you are out practicing football it is a big plus to have Brian Urlacher out here," Bears defensive coordinator Bob Babich said Wednesday. "It was fun to see him out here. He picked up right where he left off from the minicamp."
Urlacher had attended mandatory three-day minicamp May 30-June 1 but had skipped voluntary drills and the team conditioning program due to dissatisfaction with his current $56 million contract.
Bill Johnson, Urlacher's agent, has been involved in talks with the Bears to extend his contract. The Pro Bowl linebacker's appearance Wednesday fueled speculation that talks are progressing.
Urlacher did not talk to reporters after practice, and Bears officials said nothing is imminent regarding a new deal.
At last weekend's fan convention, Bears president and CEO Ted Phillips said it helps a player to be at voluntary workouts if they want a new contract.
"You know, it's not a written rule that we have, but I think to most teams -- and we feel the same way -- it makes sense," Phillips said. "If you want us to engage in any kind of discussions, whether anything gets done or not, it makes sense that you're here and showing your side of your obligation to the club."
The Bears have reportedly offered Urlacher a one-year extension worth $5 million in bonus money with $1 million more per year through 2011, contingent on his playing time.
It's not clear whether Urlacher will be available for next week's final voluntary practices, but Babich said he isn't concerned.
"From my point of view, when it comes to Brian Urlacher I know that if he's not here, he's doing what he has to do away from here to be the best player he can be," Babich said.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press