Bryan Bulaga was born in Barrington. Say that three times fast.
Though Green Bay's gregarious 21-year-old right tackle grew up in Crystal Lake, he says he was never a Bears fan -- and that's not just lip service because of this week's NFC championship stakes.
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"I was a 49ers fan growing up," Bulaga said Wednesday after the Packers' outdoor practice. "The Bears would be on every Sunday. You'd turn on FOX and that was the game that was on, so you watched it. I mean, I didn't dislike (the Bears) growing up."
Bulaga contends his San Francisco fandom began when he was 5 years old and the 49ers bounced San Diego in Super Bowl XXIX.
"Jerry Rice. Steve Young. They were really good," Bulaga said with a big laugh. "I'll admit, I was a bandwagon jumper. That (Super Bowl) was the first game I think I watched all the way through."
Now Bulaga, who doesn't turn 22 until March, is one step from playing in the Super Bowl. The 2007 Marian Central Catholic graduate knows he'll have to deal successfully with Bears defensive ends Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije in order to get the Packers to their first Super Bowl in 13 seasons.
"They are two different guys, they do two different things," said Bulaga, who has started the last 14 games. "But you've got to focus on yourself fundamentally. You've got to do all the footwork, hands. All of that has to be on against both guys. You can't let anything slip."