Chicago Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher could miss the remainder of the 2012 regular season with a "Grade 2" strain to his right hamstring, reports Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune.
Urlacher suffered the injury on the second-to-last play in overtime of the Bears' 23-17 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. After the game, Urlacher said that he heard the muscle "pop" while he was pursuing Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson. On the following play, Wilson found Sidney Rice for a game-winning touchdown pass.
With the 8-4 Bears competing with the Green Bay Packers for the NFC North title, and trying to stave off the Seahawks, Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings for a wild card berth, replacing Urlacher for the next three to four weeks will be a tough task for the defense. The 34-year-old Urlacher is second on the Bears with 68 tackles, a figure that includes 53 solo stops and eight tackles for a loss, and has an interception return for a touchdown while playing in over 91 percent of the team's defensive snaps this season.
Veteran Nick Roach moved from the strong-side position to the middle when Urlacher went down on Sunday and he is expected to start for at least the next three games. McClure adds the Bears are holding out hope that Urlacher could return for the regular season finale against the Detroit Lions on Dec. 30, which could have playoff implications.
In 13 NFL seasons, Urlacher has been named to eight Pro Bowls and has 1,352 tackles, 41.5 sacks and 22 interceptions in 150 games. Urlacher hopes to continue his career with the Bears, but first-year general manager Phil Emery has not yet committed to re-signing the perennial Pro Bowler, who sprained two ligaments in his left knee in the 2011 regular season finale. Urlacher missed the offseason workout program as he underwent multiple procedures on the knee, including one on Aug. 14 that caused him to miss the 2012 preseason.
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