A Bears legend, Urlacher spent 13 seasons with the team, making eight Pro Bowls and getting named a first-team All-Pro four times. He was also the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2000 and the Defensive Player of the Year in 2005.
Urlacher retired from the NFL in 2013, and he currently lives in Arizona with his family, but he still keeps tabs on his former team.
In a June 15 appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show,” Urlacher revealed he was heading back to the Windy City to visit his old stomping grounds. “I’m actually going back this weekend,” Urlacher told McAfee.
It’s a visit that may or may not have been spurred by a phone call he recently received from the team’s new head coach.
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Urlacher on Eberflus: I Like His Lineage
“I did speak to the new head coach, Eberflus. I like him,” Urlacher said, confirming that it was Eberflus who reached out and got ahold of him via phone. “I like his lineage — Rod Marinelli. He comes from that brand of football, which — I know they’re gonna play hard as s*** on defense. Which is good.”
Urlacher worked with Marinelli from 2009 to 2012, when Marinelli served as the Bears’ assistant head coach and defensive coordinator. Eberflus recently brought in Marinelli to speak to the team.
It was the latest in what appears to be a series of visits from former Bears players and coaches. First, Eberflus invited Urlacher’s longtime former teammate, retired Bears cornerback Charles Tillman, in to speak to the team’s rookies at minicamp.
It’s clear Eberflus is going to great lengths to reach out to respected alumni, which was something the previous regime was criticized for not doing enough.
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Marinelli Has Been Huge Influence on Eberflus
Eberflus has been open about Marinelli’s influence on his coaching career. “I spent five years with him in Dallas and I cannot say enough good things about Rod Marinelli, what he taught me with the player-coach relationship,” Eberflus noted on June 14.
“To be able to show the player that you care through action. And to prepare the player to play his best on Sunday. Then, you’re able to challenge them and push them past the point they can’t take themselves and that’s what I learned from Rod. Players, everybody who talks about him just loves him to death. And man, I know when he was here he pushed the guys past the point they couldn’t take themselves and that’s what I learned from him. He’s just a diamond in the rough, Rod Marinelli.”
Eberflus also revealed some of what Marinelli told the team when speaking to the group on June 15.
“Coach Marinelli came and spoke to our team for about 20 minutes, and it was outstanding,” Eberflus told the media. “And really the message from him was about life skills, about how to maximize yourself both physically and mentally and how to go about that. It was very entertaining, and we certainly appreciate Coach Rod coming in here. One of my mentors, one of my really good friends, coming here and speaking with the team was outstanding.”
You can count Urlacher among those who approve of Marinelli’s influence.