Like Urlacher, Ray Lewis has to wait a few years for his call from the Hall of Fame. Rest assured, it's definitely coming. A two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Lewis became an iconic league figure during his 17 seasons in Baltimore. He earned two Super Bowl rings, was a 10-time NFL All-Pro and was selected for the Pro Bowl 13 times. Lewis finished his career with the most games started, most seasons played and the most interception return yards by a middle linebacker.
Urlacher's place in history
His resume is filled. NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, NFL Defensive Player of the Year, 2000s All-Decade Team, you name it. Brian Urlacher also holds the Bears' single-season and career tackles record. He was a five-time All-Pro and an eight-time Pro Bowler. Don't worry, Brian ... Canton will be calling soon. However, does he pass the other great middle linebackers on this list? We say no, but what do you think?
A legend of the game, Lanier was a member of the Chiefs teams that dominated the AFL and won a championship in Super Bowl IV. A part of the NFL's 75th anniversary team and a Pro Football Hall of Famer (1986), Lanier was an eight-time All-Pro and six-time Pro Bowler. He finished his career with 27 interceptions.
Nitschke was the first defensive player from those famed Packers teams from the 1960s to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. During 15 seasons in Green Bay, he compiled 25 interceptions, was a seven-time All-Pro and two-time Super Bowl champion. He's also a member of the NFL's 50th and 75th anniversary teams.
Few people could strike more fear in opponents' heart than the legendary Bednarik. His accomplishments speak for themselves: 10-time All-Pro, eight-time Pro Bowl selection and a two-time NFL champion. A member of the Philadelphia Eagles honor roll, Bednarik was enshrined in Canton back in 1967.
That's right, Urlacher isn't the only Bears player on this list. Singletary held down the middle linebacker spot for the "Super Bowl Shuffle" Chicago team that won Super Bowl XX. He was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year twice, was a 10-time Pro Bowl selection, nine-time NFL All-Pro and lock for the Hall of Fame. He was elected in 1998.
It wasn't just the missing front teeth that made Lambert fierce. He played with a fiery passion that was a perfect fit for those Steel Curtain Steelers of the 1970s. He finished his career with four Super Bowl rings and nine nods as an NFL All-Pro. Lambert was named the 1974 Defensive Rookie of the Year and the 1976 Defensive Player of the Year. He was also a nine-time Pro Bowl selection and a part of two NFL all-decade teams.
Like Urlacher, Butkus was a first-round pick of the Bears. Butkus, however, revolutionized the middle linebacker position, becoming arguably the most feared player in the game during his eight-year career. The number eight figured prominently, as he was an eight-time Pro Bowler and an eight-time All-Pro. Butkus was named to the NFL's 75th Anniversary team and the all-decade teams for the 1960s and 1970s. He got his spot in the Hall of Fame in 1979.