In his first year of eligibility, linebacker Brian Urlacher, who starred for the Chicago Bears from 2000-2012, became the 28th player in franchise history to be selected for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame – the most of any franchise. The announcement was made official Saturday evening in Minneapolis.
Urlacher, the first Bear to be selected for enshrinement since Richard Dent in 2011, will be inducted and presented with his gold jacket in Canton, Ohio in August. He joins Randy Moss, Ray Lewis, Brian Dawkins, Terrell Owens, Jerry Kramer, Robert Brazile and Bobby Beathard as members of the Class of 2018.
Urlacher played his entire 13-year career with the Bears, who selected him with the ninth overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft out of the University of New Mexico. He played in 182 games for the Bears with 180 starts, the third most by a Bears player in franchise history behind Olin Kreutz (183, 1998-2010) and Walter Payton (184, 1975-87).
Urlacher was one of the NFL’s most productive, dominant and feared defensive players. He quickly made his mark in his first season, winning NFL Rookie of the Year honors in 2000 while being selected to eight Pro Bowls – the third most by a Bears player – and winning NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2005.
The Bears advanced to the playoffs four times in the Urlacher era and enjoyed their finest season in 2006 when the Bears went 13-3 and advanced to Super Bowl XLI, where they ultimately fell to Peyton Manning and the Colts, 29-17.
In Bears annals, Urlacher ranks second in fumble return yards (191) and is tied for second in fumble returns for touchdowns (2). His 22 career interceptions are tied for 11th most in Bears history and tied for second among linebackers with Dick Butkus. His 324 return yards and two touchdowns are the most by a Bears linebacker.