Chicago Sun-Times

Hillenmeyer gets another chance to prove his worth

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Injuries to Brian Urlacher the past two season has made it easier to appreciate Hunter Hillenmeyer.

Hillenmeyer filled in for Urlacher when Urlacher sustained a season-ending wrist injury in the 2009 season opener. He stepped in for Urlacher again and finished with a team-high seven combined tackles when the Pro Bowl middle linebacker strained his calf against the Raiders last week. Now that coach Lovie Smith has officially ruled Urlacher out of Saturday night's third preseason game, Hillenmeyer will get another start when the Cardinals visit Soldier Field.

"When I first had to adjust to a backup role, when Nick [Roach] and I started splitting time two years ago, that's when I was the most upset and frustrated and feeling like I was getting taken advantage of by the system," Hillenmeyer said. "At this point, I've been through such a roller coaster ride of starting and backing up and special teams --- injured, healthy --- it's all details to me.

"I love playing. Obviously, I want to play defense, which shouldn't surprise anybody.
Anybody here is competitive enough where they want to start and they want to contribute. I'm going to play my best and do the best I can whatever my role is. I don't feel like I'm just saying that, either."

While Hillenmeyer could start for many NFL teams, he said he's part of something special in Chicago.

"It's frustrating not to start but it's fun to be part of what I consider to be the best linebacking corps in the league," he said. "Hopefully, that's going to lead to something that we'll all be a big part of, and that will be fun, even if I'm not one of the guys out there starting."

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13 Comments

This guy is a true Pro! We need more like him.

It is clear that the defense takes a step backwards when Urlacher is not in the lineup, but with a veteran like Hillenmeyer, it is not a giant step. I am not sure if anyone broke his records since then, but I believe Hillenmeyer had the record for career tackles in college while at Vandy. In a different system, he might have been a very good MLB in the NFL, but more than likely, it would have been as a strong-side MLB in a 3-4. Certainly not a Pro Bowler, but a solid starter for a long time.

Granted, it's easier to say it when you are making excellent money and not getting the crap beaten out of you every week as a starter, but Hillenmeyer is one of the "team first" guys that every team needs to be successful.

It is always good to see someone like Hillenmeyer do well and get a chance. He is never going to set the world on fire, but he plays smart, is around the ball, and if for no other reason, he seems to own Adrian Peterson for fumbles...

Next years draft needs to produce Urlacher's replacement. He is getting to old and racking up to many injuries. A good young replacement might help him last a little longer, otherwise he could be gone in 1 to 2 years.

Hunter as always been consistently good for us.Now that he doesnt start anymore, he becomes one of the top back-up linebackers in the league.

Hillenmeyer has been a very good player over the years and in many ways indispensable. Albeit, he is not a physically talented as Urlacher he is a bright player that will usually not make stupid mistakes like personal foul penalties to lose games.

Plus he is good at creating turnovers but sometimes I would like to see him wrap up better in his tackling.

Losing Urlacher is tough but at least we have a pretty good replacement should Urlacher go down for an extended time. However, the Middle linebacker position will need a high draft pick in the upcoming drafts. Lets remember in Chicago the Middle linebacker is often more popular and considered more important the coach or QB.

Never been a fan of Hunter. While he knows the defense well, he always seems to get beat on coverages and misses tackles. While its nice to have a player that knows the defense, he can't play it. He is more of a liability then anything else. I really wish they would get rid of him.

Oh what a tangled web we weave! Most of you &^% holes were screaming to have the guy cut from the team last year at this time.

You're right, mike. He almost got cut last year, and many who wrote on this blog weren't too fond of him.

Hunter is no Urlacher, he's not big, he's not strong, he's not fast, but he's a smart veteran with a much needed calmness about him, and does a good job backing up at both the middle and the strong side. I doubt he could start for many teams, but he's a good guy to have here.

awww....waht a nice litel foto you havre their neal...

TOO BAD THOSE LOOSERS ARE BOTH TOTQAL BUSTS!!!!! THEY RE NOT EVEN QUALLYFIED TO WIPE MY @$$ !!!

ans o niwe you loosers are thniking gee crap-ton soooo soo m uch hate? why?? weells let me tells you this...wehn you dont have a girlgfrend...you donut have a JOB...you lived in moomys attic....you weigh 400 pounds....ans you need somonre yto BATH YOU WITH A SPONGE TEHN GUESS WHAT LOOSERWS YOU BECOME HATEFUL ANSD BITTER ANS ANGRY AT LIGFE JUST LIKE ME.

but uo guys now me old crap-yton..juts rtring to be posative

ps ones day i WIL FIND taht ANGELOO ans oohh will i get him good...i wills dteech him a lesson he willd never zforfgets!...ohhh taht ANGELO!!!!! so MAD he makes me somtims!!!

Please no. Hillenmeyer is a good guy, hard worker, and blah blah blah. But on his best days he's only average. He can make a lot of tackles but they're all seven yards down field. Starting him now in preseason is fine, but if Urlacher can't play when it counts, move Roach to the middle and leave Pisa outside. I'd even rather see one of the young guys get a chance to see what they've got than watch more of Hillenmeyer's mediocrity.

Hunter is the Tommie Waddle of the 00's. More heart than talent, but always able to make plays.

have to say that I agree with BigBear on this one HH is the definition of mediocrity lets give the young guys a chance as Urlacher is getting old and ready for retirement

HH is good backup to have around, he can play all 3 LB positions in a pinch. I do NOT want to see him starting a large number of regular season games though. His range is just too limited compared to Briggs or Urlacher

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This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on August 26, 2010 3:26 PM.

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