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Urlacher's Neck A Pain To Bears

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Feb 8, 2008 11:30PM

2008_02_sports_urlacher.jpgThere are few words we come across - at least within the local sports pages - that concern us more than "Brian Urlacher" and "neck surgery" in the same sentence. Yet that's what greeted us in bold print in Friday's papers. Following a routine post-season physical, a problem in Urlacher's lower neck that affected the curve of his cervical spine required "minor" surgery to correct. Tribune columnist Rick Morrissey wondered, "[I]s there such a thing as a routine surgery for someone whose job revolves around catapulting himself head first into running backs and quarterbacks?"

The Bears clearly have to be concerned with the centerpiece of their defense and his longterm health, given Urlacher's chronic arthritic back and now this. Even if this procedure will not impact his readiness come training camp this summer. With the need for an Urlacher insurance policy becoming ever more clear, the Bears now must decide what they plan to do in regards to Lance Briggs. Briggs threatened a holdout last season after rejecting the Bears longterm contract offer and their subsequent use of the "franchise tag" on him. He put up yet another Pro Bowl season.

The Bears acted like they couldn't afford to re-sign Briggs at what he felt he deserved and that they could get by fine without him on the field each Sunday in orange and blue. Now, can they afford not to re-sign Briggs no matter the cost?