LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- All-Pro linebacker Brian Urlacher has agreed to a new, nine-year deal that will keep him with the Chicago Bears through the 2011 season.
Terms of the deal were not immediately available.
Urlacher, the ninth overall pick in the 2000 draft, has 527 career tackles. He's led the Bears in stops in each of his first three seasons, averaging 175 a year.
With 214 tackles last season, he set a franchise record, shattering the previous mark of 190 set by Hall of Famer Dick Butkus in 1972. He won rookie of the year honors in 2000.
In addition to being Chicago's top defensive player, Urlacher has quickly become a fan favorite. He's earned Pro Bowl honors each season and was the top defensive vote-getter by fans last year. His jersey was the top seller in the NFL last season.
I wish I could see through the all-consuming cynicism that this off-season has caused me to celebrate this move. I'll give them credit, they at least made sure not to screw up the best thing they've had since the day Walter Payton hung up his jersey. But unless he's going to take over once Kordell bombs out, I'm not sure how much it's going to help things. So yay for Urlacher staying, now get him some damn help!
It is going to be very different next year. I think there are only like 2 games that they base on records from the previous year, so no more "5th place schedule" or whatever. Not that that even mattered lately, thanks to the parity of the NFL....