Chicago Sun-Times

Hayes's take on Urlacher vs. Sayers

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Brian Urlacher is upset because Gale Sayers answered a question about the Bears honestly.

I don't get it. I don't get what Brian's beef is about and I don't understand why so many Bears fans are insulting Sayers, who is one of the greatest players in team history.

What ever happened to free speech? Where is it written that because Sayers played for the Bears he has to be a boot-licker and can't speak his mind?

The man was speaking at a banquet for charity in Omaha, Neb., when he was asked about the Bears. Here's what he said: "If Lovie doesn't do it this year, I think he's gone. He had a good team the Super Bowl year. Nothing came together for him the last couple years."

Sayers said he doubted Urlacher would return to form after missing last season with a wrist injury.

As for free-agent Julius Peppers, Sayers told the Omaha World-Herald that, "He's a good player, but he can't do it all by himself."

Evidently, this enraged Urlacher, even if every word Sayers uttered is right on the mark.

"Let me ask you a question: 'How many championships did Gale Sayers win?''' Urlacher told the Chicago Tribune. "How many playoff games did he win when he played? None. None. None.

"Does it bother me? There are enough people throwing daggers at us right now, why does one of our ex-players have to jump in? There are enough experts talking (crap) about us, so why does a Bear, an all-time great, have to jump in? I just don't like that.''

Good grief. If you don't like what people are saying about the Bears, here's an idea: play better. If indeed "daggers" are coming the Bears way they are richly deserved after three straight underachieving seasons. Where's the accountability?

"I go to every game I can," Sayers went on to say. "I live or die with them."

Meanwhile, keep telling it like it is, Gale. Real men speak their mind rather than tow the company line.

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24 Comments

Right on! Glad to see I am not the only one getting sick and tired of Urlacher and his Defensive buddies whining...Uh Brian in case you hadn't noticed its put up or shut up time for you and your aging D buddies and since there are no games being played right now you might want to try the latter for a while...just a thougt...

I'm not taking either side here, but it seems to me free speech would include allowing Urlacher his view on what Sayers said. He didn't tell Sayers to clam up, he just said he didn't like it and that Sayers doesn't have playoff credibility to back up his opinion.

Tell it like it is, Neil. But even moderating the comments on a blog like this should have suggested to you how filled to the rafters Chicagoland is with homer tards who want to endlessly prostrate themselves before the altar of Jerry, Ted, and Lovie. Slinging mud at a legend and decent guy like Gayle Sayers. I find it hilariously embarrassing that Urlacher still apparently hasn't figured out that good teams win championships, not one of only a few great players. But maybe that's an accurate reflection of the current mentality inside the Bears and explains why they haven't had an impressive string of wins the last three years.

People's general indignation with Sayers may have something to do with the fact that there's always something assinine coming out of his mouth.

Finally, tell it like it is. People got upset with Sayers and for what? Speaking the truth? Urlacher criticized the team himself now all of a sudden he decides to play the "team" role. He hasn't won anythinf either-what does he do take his NFC trophy on dates to the strip club!

Meh...much ado about nothing. Who really cares what Sayers or Urlacher (or Butkus) have to say, especially in May? I only care about what happens on the field...the rest is all just conversation.

I watched Gale Sayers play when I was a kid. He showed more class and style playing injured than most any other player out on the field. He also played with a the best middle linebacker of his time, Mr. Dick Butkus. Let's ask Mr Butkus what he thinks of Mr. Ulachers play, compare apples to apples, so to speak. Sayers ran circles around the best defenses of his day, he would surely hop, skip and jump over the current Mr. Urlacker all the way to the end zone. Brian "was" one of the best at his position when he was in his prime, and he had the right to make is opinion known. But when you haven't played in a year, and one more bad "break" could end his career, I suggest some Humble Apple Pie.

HOLD IT! I am a Bears fan, period. What are we (bears fans) doing? It is disappointing to hear Bears greats of old bad-mouthing my team! Do people have the right to say what they think, I guess so, however, in today's press if you say things in a dramatic way, then that person will receive some headlines. The truth about the 2010 Bears will be determined on the field, just like the Bears did when Gale Sayers played, Mike Dikita played and coached. That is why I love the game of football, when the dust clears, who is the winner on the scoreboard.
Personally it is hard to see some of my hero's growing up critizing their former team. If people want to be critical of something pick hungar, pick jobless rates, pick crime. Football is a game played by men who have loved the game. Mr. Urlacher has a great deal of pride....applaud that!
D Schumacher

I would be stunned to find out that Urlacher even knew that it was much harder for a team to make the playoffs in Sayers' day. Or that there was no free agency to escape a franchise spinning its wheels.

Try shedding a block, Brian, and then maybe someday you can be mentioned in the same breath as Dick Butkus who came to Sayers' defense yesterday. He didn't make the playoffs either.

Did I read what credibility does Sayers have? The youngest person elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. One of the greatest running backs in the HISTORY of Pro and College football and one no one has seen the likes of since he left (and yes that includes Barry Sanders). He's earned the right to speak his mind. Mr Urlacher, sit down, grow and accept the constructive criticism which is being offered. Sometimes the truth hurts.

i feel urlacher is a good guy to speak up for his team is say hey the outsiders are all rooting against the bears and treating the bears n its coaches like everyone treated vinny....rooting against them and to take that from an all time great Gayle Sayers is not good for the bears in general... hopefully urlacher's coments can unite the bears nation and let real bear fans lead the way in rooting for a super bowl season........

Urlacher- voted most overrated nfl player by other players.The sooner the Bears realize he's past prime and get a replacement the better.Sayers answered a question honestly, so what.Hey Urlacher, How many championships did Ernie Banks win?Know this Urlacher you will go down with the same amount of championships as Sayers,Banks,Butkus but they have Hall of Fame careers to their credit, you don't and won't.

I would consider myself a football traditionalist. That being said I do tire of older players shooting their mouths off.

I am glad that Urlacher came to the team's defense ... I would say he had to, and should have. If this was Sayers' current team he would have done the same. No he doesn't have to tow the team line, but he knew his comments would get out there.

Just reading the headline and knowing who wrote it I readied myself for onslaught of tardery that would come from the author, those involved, and the commenters. After reading this, I came to the conclusion that the majority of you are dumber than even *I* thought you were. And, you may rest assured that this is an impressive level of dumb.

Let's see where to begin ...

Neil: "What ever happened to free speech? Where is it written that because Sayers played for the Bears he has to be a boot-licker and can't speak his mind?"
This from the guy who "moderates" a blog. "Free speech" is great for Neil as long as it doesn't upset his delicate sensibilities.

Urlacher: "Let me ask you a question: 'How many championships did Gale Sayers win?'"
Gee Brian, as many as you have?! He's also in this little thing they call the HALL OF FAME and has been playing football or around the game since before you were a twinkle in your daddy's eye. The only thing that shocks me is that it wasn't Jay Glazer who said this with Urlacher's hand shoved up his backside.

joe: "People's general indignation with Sayers may have something to do with the fact that there's always something assinine coming out of his mouth."
Which aptly sums up my - and many others - indignation with joe.

D. Schumacher: "Personally it is hard to see some of my hero's growing up critizing their former team. If people want to be critical of something pick hungar, pick jobless rates, pick crime."
It's terrible that Gale Sayer's criticized YOUR team. He should be criticizing hunger, jobless rates, crime, etc. Unlike you who should be able to come out and criticize "your hero" Gale Sayers for not criticizing something you deem worthy enough. Look up cognitive disonance and then answer me this ... Is it hard to hear your own voice over the sound of how awesome you are?

foster1: "rooting against them and to take that from an all time great Gayle Sayers is not good for the bears in general... hopefully urlacher's coments can unite the bears nation and let real bear fans lead the way in rooting for a super bowl season......."
Yes because the only way to affect change for an underachieving team is to blow sunshine up the butts of the collective masses. "REAL BEAR FANS" like foster1 knows that any criticism of any aspect of the Bears will lead to a colossal breakdown of the system and destroy any chances of a good season. All "REAL BEAR FANS" know that no matter how unbelievably terrible the Bears have looked at times in these last few years, the only way to get them going is to quit criticizing them because that's the real reason they have underachieved ... people criticizing them.

I want someone to tell me where was Sayers off on anything he said? Where was he being overly critical?

1. Can Urlacher bounce back? Age, history, and the odds say no, that's just simple facts. You don't get better with age and a plethora of injuries.
2. Is Lovie gone if they don't have a good season? Yes and maybe Angelo as well.
3. Can Julius Peppers make the defense better all by himself? NO. Someone needs to step up at the tackle position and the secondary needs to get loads better.

Much ado about nothing!

Lets face it Urlacher has physical talent but once again Urlacher does not show much in the decision making arena. Url is basically spoiled and immature like so many of todays athletes that are paid at levels that make them believe they are better than others in so many ways.

Urlacher and T Harris are two of the Bears that need to grow up and start taking responsibility for a team that has been under achieving for the last three years.

I know it is tough to take the criticism, so now it is time for Tommie and Brian to sulk and whine, maybe get kicked out of game for unsportsmanlike conduct, miss meetings, not practice, etc.

You two, should remember who and what you used to be, not who you currently are. I would not be to proud of how great you both believe you are because you are not that great any longer. Lets see if you can become great again, maybe by adding a little humility you will be someday cherished by the city of Chicago like Butkus, Ditka, Sayers and many others that put on the Chicago Bear uniform and gave the blood, sweat and tears on every play.

Last time I looked I did not see a superbowl ring on either Tommie or Brian's finger? The way both of these two primadonna's are going they will not ever get one either.

Urlacher was not out of line to say what he said either. I gues due to this paper printing it.. we are now talking about it. it is now offically silly logic.

Urlacher was right to defend himself and his team. Sayers called him out. I've grown weary of listening to Sayers harsh critisism over the years and I wish Butkus would have stayed out of it.

Fact is these great Hall of Famers played on mediocre teams at best and just plain awful most of the time. Sayers had 2 1000 yard seasons with less than 5000 for his career. That's it. Led his team to nowhere. Just good highlight footage.

I'd like to remember them as Bears legends. When they pop off their mouths you remember they didn't win much. I don't miss those teams. Just the moments.

im gonna have to agree with..........urlacher on this one. sure everyone has a right to there own opinion and they can say whatever they want. so that give brian the same right to say what he wants too! with that said, i have my own opinion too. i would say sure gale was an alright player, but there are other running backs out there i would take on a team before him. ( walter, being at the top of my list )gale played in an era when this was a game not a business, so he played with people that werent in the kind of shape the guys are in, in todays football. sure, gale had 6 TD's in one game, which is great, but he wasnt the first to do it. gale had less than 5000 yards rushing in 7 yrs, this is not great by any means. so, IMO, gale isnt as great a player as everyone makes him out to be. with that being said, urlacher isnt the greatest middle line backer ive ever seen either, and i would also say he has lost a step. i wouldnt get rid of him though, because, if you watched the games he wasnt in last year you could tell whoever replaced him was lost and couldnt call the plays or line the players up right, not like brian can do!!! now its time for everyone from the top to the bottom to put up or shut up and just get it done this year!!!!!!!!!!! GO BEARS!!!!!!!!!!!

"What ever happened to free speech? Where is it written that because Sayers played for the Bears he has to be a boot-licker and can't speak his mind?"

I agree with that and I agree with the criticisms that Mr. Sayers put forth, but where is it written that Urlacher can't respond to said criticisms of his team, coach and his own personal form? I don't care who it's coming from, if you're a professional athlete, especially one who was once considered elite, you may not respond kindly to those types of things said about you. So Urlacher spoke his mind and now he's getting ripped for it. Should he have put more thought into what he said before he said it? Yes, I would say so. He could have saved himself all this stupid controversy. But he spoke his mind.

But really, this is such a non story. Who really cares about this and how is it really going to affect the team?

Urlacher better mind his P's and Q's before Sayers knocks him to the ground and Butkus chews his ear off. The game of football is so different now that the only thing that hasn't changed is the football - and I'm not even sure about that. Urlacher couldn't begin to hold his own in Sayers' era. Not even close.

Somewhere in a bizarro universe this is what Brian Urlacher said:

"Gale is right to call us out. We haven't played up to our potential the last three years. He's frustrated, the fans are frustrated, and we as players are frustrated. We know we've got to step it up and that a lot is riding on this season. We need to live up to the standards the Bears fans and former players expect and we're going to work twice as hard to make that happen."

Unfortunately, we live in this universe where Urlacher proves over and over that he's an immature, self-absorbed, unintellligent, thin-skinned, little brat.

When I first heard what Sayers said I thought it was bitter man speak. Then I read what he said and it was the same thing I hear casual fans say all the time. Not a big deal. But it's so common with players from an older era criticizing players from the current era. Some of the older players criticized the era in between this one and theirs. That get old. No pun intended. Sayers did criticize more than just the Bears when he mentioned that Reggie Bush gets hurt a lot. That sounds myopic when his career was shortened due to injury. And it's so common for people who watched the past players defend what the past player has to say because their built-in Love for the past. Simply put: stop defending someone just because they are a link to your bygone past. The players from the 50s aren't better than the 60s players and the 70s aren't better than the 80s players. Great players are great players inspite of eras. You can not compare them because who knows what kind of player they might've been in another era. Maybe their talent just meshed in that era. Sayers has a tendency to bash current anything. How would he have felt if a guy from the 40s acted like what he was doing wasn't anything compared to players from his era. Sayers was a brash young man. "Give me 18 inches of daylight and I'm gone". I'm sure that didn't go over well to the guys who never boasted about their abilities. He just didn't have the internet and the media making him out to be an jerk during his playing days. To me it was a non-story from day one.
Can we all just put this to bed and stop ragging on people just because of some kind of he said/ she said story that has taken legs. Sayers spoke a ring of truth and in some ways so did Urlacher. Sayers should say more positive things instead of coming out somewhat negative all the time.

once more, Dahlllama is 100 per cent right

Mr. Sayers only told the truth. The Bears made the wrong moves in the off season. The Bears will not win 14 games and will be lucky to win 7. Lovie Smith will be unemployed come the end of the 2010 season. Urlacher needs to learn some respect. He crossed the line when questioning Sayers. Urlacher will be lucky to be even considered for the Hall of Fame. The Bears have a ton of holes to fill and they are a second tier team at best.

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This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on May 21, 2010 8:21 AM.

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