When they got the invitation to attend the Chicago First Responders Memorial Bowl, Bears tight end Greg Olsen and linebacker Brian Urlacher didn't spend much time making a decision.
"This is right up my alley," Olsen said, "to take a day, and support these guys, who do a lot for the city."
Added Urlacher, "These guys take care of us."
Olsen was the honorary captain for the firefighters, and Urlacher was the honorary captain for the police officers. Both were gracious to the many who approached them, whether it was just to shake a hand, request an autograph or to pose for a picture.
But the locked out NFL players enjoyed watching some quality football.
"It's cool to watch them play," Urlacher said. "There are some good players out here."
Most of them played in high school. Many of them played in college. And a few even played in the NFL.
Last year, in the inaugural game, the Chicago Police Enforcers won 21-14.
"We were robbed," Tom Ryan playfully said.
The president of the Chicago Firefighters Union, Ryan said he reviewed film and insisted a late goal-line fumble by the police should have been awarded to the firefighters.
He was thrilled with the start of Sunday's game at St. Rita's High School, as the Chicago Fire Dept. Blaze jumped out to an early lead and blocked two punts. But the Chicago Police Enforcers rebounded, forced overtime and kicked a field goal to win the game 29-26.
So the police keep bragging rights, but both sides were thankful for the support of the Bears' players and the public, who showed up in the thousands.
"It's great for the camaraderie. We may be playing against each other, but our issues are similar and we have the same challenges, and we stand together," said Mike Shields, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police.
Added Ryan, "It's been an especially tough year [for both departments], with all the deaths we've had.
"This kind of thing brings everyone together."