Brian Urlacher is one of six first-year eligible candidates among the group of 27 semi-finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame (Michael: And according to all of those billboards on the Kennedy, he grew back a ton of hair … big year for him).
Urlacher is joined by fellow linebacker Ray Lewis, wide receiver Randy Moss, offensive lineman Steve Hutchinson, cornerback Ronde Barber, and defensive lineman Richard Seymour. In addition to that group of six, five-time All-Pro receiver Terrell Owens, nine-time Pro Bowl safety John Lynch, Chicago native (and two-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman) Simeon Rice, and legendary coaches Jimmy Johnson and Don Coryell are among the group of semifinalists. You can see the entire list here.
The Chicago Bears drafted Urlacher ninth overall in the 2000 NFL Draft and started his trek toward stardom immediately. Urlacher spent time as defensive back, wide receiver, running back, and return specialist in college at New Mexico, but settled into his role as a middle linebacker quickly in his NFL career. From there, he would follow in the footsteps of Dick Butkus and Mike Singletary as the latest in a line of greats to play that position in Week 3 of his rookie season in Chicago when he took over for an injured middle linebacker Barry Minter.
Once entrenched at the position, Urlacher became a star. He won the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year award in 2000 and the Associated Press’ Defensive Player of the Year in 2005, made eight Pro Bowl appearances, and earned four first-team All-Pro nominations.
Urlacher played his entire 13-year NFL career with the Bears. He racked up 1,779 tackles, 41.5 sacks, 22 interceptions, 16 fumble recoveries, 11 forced fumbles, and four defensive touchdowns. Urlacher was a part of four playoff teams, including the 2006 team that lost in the Super Bowl.
The selection committee will meet again on February 3, 2018 – the night before the Super Bowl – to announce the Hall of Fame’s newest members, who will be enshrined later in August.