OK, this is the second positional review where I have to point out this is a countdown of the best NON Hall of Famers on the Bears since 1977.? It certainly would be a fun discussion as to whether Brian Urlacher’s play has surpassed Mike Singletary’s entire body of work (I don’t think it has), but we’re leaving Singletary out of this one.
And by the way, before we even start, it’s obvious who the winner of this list is from the get-go.? But humor me anyway.
Candidates: Waymond Bryant (1974-1977); Tom Hicks (1976-1980); Dante Jones (1988-1994); Barry Minter (1993-2000); Brian Urlacher (2000-2007)
Numbers 4 and 5 on this list, Waymond Bryant and Tom Hicks, come off first.? I will be honest, I don’t remember anything about Bryant’s career, and nothing about Hicks’ stands out in my mind.
Dante Jones is our third best Bear MLB since 1977.? While Singletary still started from 1988-1992, Jones was a key member of the Bears’ goal-line defense.? Most memorably he stopped a New York Giant running back on fourth down inside the Bear five in 1991 to preserve a Bear win.? And in 1993 he earned a new, large contract after a monster year replacing Singletary, setting a new Bear record for number of tackles in a season.? After 1994, he was released for salary cap reasons and didn’t start again in the NFL.
Barry Minter is #2.? He was stolen by Dave Wannstedt from mentor Jimmy Johnson during 1993′s training camp in a multi-player deal.? He stepped in at MLB in Chicago’s nickel defenses from 1994-1996, then became the starting MLB from 1998 until the beginning of the 2000 season.? Very underrated, but not good enough to hold off the rookie Urlacher.? The young Urlacher’s performance led to Minter’s release and retirement following the 2000 season.
And of course, other than Mike Singletary, Brian Urlacher is www.BearsHistory.com’s best Bears middle linebacker of the last 30 years.? Urlacher should be hitting the very pinnacle of his career at this point, and hopefully should lead the Bears back to the Super Bowl in 2007.