Urlacher agrees to one-year contract extension

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. – Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher has agreed to a one-year contract extension with the Bears through the 2012 season. The six-time Pro Bowler is expected to sign the deal Tuesday after reporting to training camp.

Urlacher led the Bears with 158 tackles and a career-high five interceptions while starting all 16 games last season.

Bears superstar Brian Urlacher has agreed to a one-year contract extension through the 2012 season.

In the last five games, he registered 52 tackles, two sacks, four interceptions and one fumble recovery. The 2000 first-round pick returned one of those picks 85 yards for a score—the first interception return TD of his career—in a Week 16 rout of the Packers.

Urlacher underwent neck surgery shortly after the end of the season, but showed no lingering effects while participating in the Bears’ mandatory minicamp May 30-June 1. At the time, he insisted that he was 100 percent after completing six weeks of rehabilitation in Arizona.

Bears coach Lovie Smith concurred, describing the 30-year-old as “fine. He’s healthy, 100 percent, ready to go. We are expecting him to have the best year he’s had so far, and that’s saying a lot.”

Urlacher became just the fourth Bears linebacker to have at least five interceptions in a season and the first to lead the team outright in the category since Ross Brupbacher had seven in 1976.

In a Week 15 loss at Minnesota, Urlacher had two sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery. It was the first game in which he had a sack, interception and fumble recovery since a 2001 win in Atlanta.

Urlacher now has 37½ career sacks, surpassing Otis Wilson (36½) for the most by a Bears linebacker.

With five interceptions and two fumble recoveries in 2007, Urlacher combined to produce seven takeaways, the most in a single season in his career. His seven takeaways led to 27 of the 64 points the Bears scored off turnovers last season.

With five sacks, Urlacher became the third Bears player to register at least five interceptions and five sacks in the same season. Safety Dave Duerson (7 sacks and 6 interceptions) and linebacker Wilber Marshall (5½ sacks and 5 interceptions) both accomplished the feat in 1986.

With three interceptions in 2006, Urlacher has eight in the past two seasons, the most by an NFL linebacker. The Redskins’ London Fletcher is second with seven. Urlacher has 15 career interceptions, which ties him for fifth among linebackers since he entered the league.

Urlacher is the eighth Bears veteran to agree to a new contract this offseason before reaching the open market. He follows Alex Brown, Desmond Clark, Rashied Davis, Robbie Gould, Tommie Harris, Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton.


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