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updated: 12/18/2012 5:20 PM

Contrary to what Urlacher says, Bears have earned the boos

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  • Bears fans had to sit and take it Sunday as a Green Bay Packers fan exchanges taunts at Soldier Field in Chicago. Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, who didn't play in the game, said Chicago fans didn't get loud until they began booing the Bears.

      Bears fans had to sit and take it Sunday as a Green Bay Packers fan exchanges taunts at Soldier Field in Chicago. Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, who didn't play in the game, said Chicago fans didn't get loud until they began booing the Bears.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer


What a lovely parting gift from Brian Urlacher, the former face of the Bears franchise.

Sunday night on WFLD-TV, Urlacher responded to criticism of coach Lovie Smith and the team by saying: "Two of the people I don't care about: fans and media."

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You don't like the media? Fine, join the crowd. Clearly it's our fault your team has gagged away a 7-1 start and is now in jeopardy of missing the playoffs.

But criticizing the fans is a no-class move that had to make everyone at Halas Hall cringe from chairman George McCaskey on down. On the same show, Urlacher sarcastically observed that Sunday's crowd was really vocal just once, while it was booing.

"They were loud for a minute there," he said. "The boos were really loud, which is always nice. The only team in our division to get booed at home is us. It's unbelievable to me."

Unbelievable? Are you kidding me?

That's exactly the type of response that the Bears earned, at least in the second half of the season.

And by the way, when the Detroit Lions were the laughingstock of the NFL in the 10 years before last season's playoff campaign, they were frequently booed at home, including almost every year against the Bears.

Maybe Urlacher is frustrated by his latest injury, a partially torn hamstring that makes it questionable whether he will play another game this year or another season for the Bears or anyone else.

He'll turn 35 two months before 2013 training camps begin, and no one is going to pay him anything close to the $8.1 million he has averaged over the past five seasons under a contract that expires after this season. Certainly not when his body is beginning to break down. Three of his last four seasons have been marred by separate injuries.

Maybe the eight-time Pro Bowl player is as frustrated by his injury as the fans who have had to watch his team stumble its way to losses in three of the last four home games.

So now he doesn't care about the fans?

I wonder what the hundreds fans who wear Urlacher jerseys to Soldier Field for every home game think of that? I would imagine it makes them feel like saps to be dissed and dismissed after the loyalty they've shown.

What exactly is it that Urlacher believes the fans had to cheer about? In almost two months, they've posted one home victory -- over the mediocre Vikings. In the three losses, the Bears scored a total of 3 touchdowns -- not a lot to get excited about.

Does this Bears team deserve a standing ovation and a downtown parade for losing five of its last six games? Fans who pay, on average, some of the NFL's highest ticket prices, have every right to boo the inferior product they've been watching in the second half of the season.

Why shouldn't fans boo a team that has made one postseason appearance in the previous five seasons and is in the throes of one of the worst late-season collapses since oh yeah, last year at this time.

Urlacher's been idolized by Bears fans for 13 years for his performance on the field -- and rightfully so. He'll go down as one of the greatest players in franchise history.

But Sammy Sosa must have choreographed Urlacher's exit strategy.

Urlacher hasn't quit on his team, as Sosa did, and he never would, although he'll be lucky to play in another game this season. But it seems like he's quit on a lot of people who applauded him for a long, long time and always showed him a lot more gratitude than he's shown in return.

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