TAMPA--Ruben Brown is making the rounds on radio row this morning before Super Bowl media day kicks off at Raymond James Stadium, the circus that tops all other sports gatherings when it comes to high-wire acts and freak shows, and a little football too.
Brown, a nine-time Pro Bowl performer, is mulling over putting together a retirement party in Chicago in the coming months. He'd like to keep playing but will be 37 and doesn't think any team is going to want to bring him in. So, he's dabbling on the media side.
We asked Brown the question that is pressing from a Bears' angle--are the Bears really close at 9-7 with the same record as the NFC Champion Arizona Cardinals?
"I do like the 9-7 record because if you watch that team, that team was better than 9-7,'' Brown said. "Even though the final record was what it was, and the Bears were right there, one more win they're in the playoffs. This is the thing when you look at the Cardinals, when you get in the playoffs, anything can happen. It's anybody's ballgame. Homefield advantage isn't always homefield advantage. Same thing happened to us in 2005. Carolina came in and we had beaten them during the year. It didn't matter. Chicago is promising.''
One distinct difference between franchises is the Cardinals have a two-time MVP at quarterback in Kurt Warner. The Bears are still trying to find their way with Kyle Orton, who they have confidence will take a major step forward in his third full season as a starter.
"Orton is as good as they can get right now,'' Brown said. "I'm not an Orton hater. I know there are a lot of other teams that wish they had a player like Orton to manage their team, an example is Buffalo, don't turn it over and hand it off to our stud running back and let those guys carry the load with the defense. And that's what we're talking about. Let's face it, we're never talking about how great the quarterback is in Chicago not unless we're talking about Sid Luckman. What we're really talking about is the running game and the defense and the defense didn't step up.
"Whether it is the D-line not producing enough pressure on the quarterback or just the inconsistent play all around for the unit because when that group was humming, they were humming. They were scaring everybody out of their socks when they walked on the field. Now, they have shown a vulnerable side. Injuries have caused that and just time. They're not a young team. But with the draft if they can get some help on the line, I'll tell you if they can get pressure on the quarterback, that defense is back."
And if the defense is back, Brown believes the Bears will be back in contention.