Legendary Chicago Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher is among the 108 modern-era nominees eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s class of 2018.
And why wouldn’t he be? Just check out these numbers:
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) September 13, 2017
Urlacher is one of 11 first-time nominees, a group that includes fellow linebacker Ray Lewis, as well as wide receiver Randy Moss. The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced its list Tuesday night, which features 53 offensive players, 38 defensive players, and 12 coaches.
There is a strong case for Urlacher to be inducted as a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He was picked to eight Pro Bowls, earned a spot as a first-team All-Pro linebacker four times, won the AP’s NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award in 2000 and Defensive Player of the Year award in 2005, and was chosen to be a first-teamer on the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s All-2000s Team.
Selected with the ninth overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft, Urlacher was an all-around talent who did it all on the defensive side of the ball. Needed a big play on a blitz? Urlacher came up with 41.5 sacks, forced 11 fumbles, and came up with 15 more. In search of someone who could defend the pass? Urlacher came down with 22 interceptions, including a pair of touchdowns. His relentless attack on defense made him the heart of a defense that led the Bears to four playoff appearances and a berth in Super Bowl XLI.
Only eight linebackers have earned entry to the Hall on their first ballot, but the list includes Bears icons Mike Singletary (1998) and Dick Butkus (1979). Will Urlacher be next?
The list of nominees will be trimmed to 25 in November, then cut once again to 15 in December. It’s hard to imagine Urlacher not being in that final cut.