Andrew Luck will be paying attention to reports of how Chicago Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher progresses this week.
The rookie quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts might be new to the league, but he knows enough about the defense he will face in the season opener Sunday at Soldier Field to realize Urlacher is a primary force.
Urlacher practiced Monday for the first time since July 31 and the first time since undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Aug. 12. It’s yet to be determined how his knee will hold up this week in preparation for the game, but the Bears have been upbeat about the situation.
“I think you have to pay attention to whether he plays or not,” Luck said Wednesday morning in a teleconference. “He’s one of the best ever, if not the best middle linebacker. We’ll definitely be aware of him and if he doesn’t play, I’m sure their defense will be fine and they’re good as always. And if he does play. it’s another challenge for us.”
Luck, the No. 1 overall pick in the April draft, called the opportunity to face a defense that had four Pro Bowl performers a year ago a “wonderful opportunity” as he begins his career in an effort to fill the massive void created by the departure of Peyton Manning.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to go up against a lot of players that are arguably the best at their position and play at a high level, so it will be a great measuring stick,” Luck said. “They are obviously historically great. They’ve got all-stars all over the field. Expect them to be good, to be fast, to be physical. To give me, give all the guys a great challenge. What a great way to kick things off with a great challenge. It will be tough sledding to get yards, to get points. I couldn’t be more excited.”
Cam Newton in Carolina and Andy Dalton in Cincinnati had terrific success as rookie starters last season. Some would believe that has raised the pressure for those that follow to succeed quickly.
“I don’t know,” Luck said. “I think any quarterback in the NFL is going to have some pressure on him to win and succeed and win now. It’s not a culture that likes to wait around for things to get good. I hope I don’t have to wait around to be a decent football player. So, I don’t think that affects the way I approach things too much.”
Luck will be keeping an eye on Urlacher
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