Finally healthy after two years, Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher launched his regular season by making a run at Aaron Rodgers, lowering his shoulder and plowing over the Packers quarterback in the first quarter.
His 10th season was off to a good start. And then, it was over.
Chicago’s star linebacker went on injured reserve after having surgery Monday to repair a dislocated right wrist and will not be back this season.
There was no immediate word from Urlacher other than a text message to the Chicago Tribune that said simply: “season is over.”
“He had put himself in position to have an outstanding year,” Bears coach Lovie Smith said. “He was playing well in the game before he went down with the injury.”
With Urlacher out, Hunter Hillenmeyer is expected to start at middle linebacker this week when the Bears host defending champion Pittsburgh. Chicago also signed linebacker Tim Shaw, who got cut by Jacksonville this month, to a one-year deal on Monday.
Garcia returns to Eagles
Jeff Garcia, the NFL’s version of Rocky Balboa, is back with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Garcia, a 10-year veteran who played for Philadelphia in 2006 and went 6-2 in eight starts – including the playoffs – while McNabb was injured, agreed to a one-year deal with the Eagles.
The Eagles needed a backup quarterback in case McNabb, who suffered a broken rib in Philadelphia’s 38-10 win over Carolina in the season opener, is not able to play this week against the New Orleans Saints.
Third-year pro Kevin Kolb filled in for McNabb and will start if McNabb is out, coach Andy Reid said.
Garcia, who was signed by Oakland in the offseason to push JaMarcus Russell and serve as a mentor to the former No. 1 overall draft pick, was released by the Raiders on Sept. 5 after playing little in the preseason.
Philadelphia’s other quarterback, Michael Vick, is not eligible this week because he was suspended for the first two regular-season games as the last part of the NFL’s penalty for his role in a dogfighting ring.
Coach Mike Singletary said the San Francisco 49ers have discussed changing their offer to top draft pick Michael Crabtree. Crabtree, the 10th overall pick in April’s draft who turned 22 on Monday, hasn’t accepted the 49ers’ offer for approximately five years and $20 million with a reported $16 million guaranteed – instead seeking money comparable to the higher picks. Oakland receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, the No. 7 choice, signed a five-year contract that will guarantee him at least $23.5 million. … Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh’s two-time All-Pro safety, doesn’t need surgery to repair the tear in his left medical collateral ligament that occurred Thursday against Tennessee. … Jacksonville defensive end Reggie Hayward broke his left leg Sunday at Indianapolis and will miss the rest of the season. One of five team captains, Hayward broke his fibula in a fourth-down pileup against the Colts. … Carolina has to come to terms with former University of Oregon quarterback A.J. Feeley and placed backup Josh McCown on injured reserve. Coach John Fox said struggling Jake Delhomme will start this week at Atlanta. … The New York Jets have waived cornerback Marquice Cole to make room for the reinstatement of suspended defensive end Shaun Ellis. Ellis was suspended for the first game of the season and fined $100,000 by the NFL for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy last season.