BOURBONNAIS -- Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher enters his 13th season and the final year of his contract. Even though he's 34, Urlacher, who made his seventh Pro Bowl last season, would love to get a new deal before the current one expires.
"I've had good conversations with Brian," general manager Phil Emery said. "That's a fine human being, and he's obviously, if not our team leader, one of our top team leaders. Brian Urlacher has been a great Bear and a great NFL football player. I talked to him, and I'm excited about Brian and this season and our team."
Caution to the wind:
The knee ligament damage that Brian Urlacher suffered in the 2011 season finale kept him off the field for almost all of the off-season work, but coach Lovie Smith says there's no need for caution now.
"Not at all," Smith said. "He's ready to go."
Tough road back:
Wide receiver Johnny Knox continues the long rehab from back surgery but doesn't appear anywhere close to returning to the field, although the Bears will not immediately shut the door on him.
He's expected to be placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, but "it'll be on the active PUP, where we can bring him up at any time," Phil Emery said. "We'll play that day-by-day. Johnny's certainly worked hard and deserves every consideration that we can give him to get healthy and get back on the field."
Knox is back lifting weights but is doing only light running.