Bears' Urlacher was Rodgers' favorite opponent
MAY 24, 2013 7:40p ET
Despite the Bears only winning 9 of 27 in that time against their NFC North rivals, Urlacher often made his presence felt. He also left a lasting impression on Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who called Urlacher his "favorite player to play against" in an interview with Jim Rome.
"I just have the utmost amount of respect for him, the way he plays the game," Rodgers told Rome. "A lot of memories come to mind. He picked me off a couple times, maybe more than anybody else has. But I had one really bad play in the NFC Championship in the 2010 season and was able to somehow grab his knee or thigh area enough to trip him up for a tackle. That's one of my favorite memories going against Brian."
While that play may have been Urlacher's best against either Rodgers or Brett Favre during heated Packers-Bears games, it certainly wasn't the only big play he had. Urlacher had 164 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, six interceptions and two forced fumbles against Green Bay.
"The thing I loved about going against Brian was the conversation between plays, between series, during TV timeouts," Rodgers added. "I just have a ton of respect for him and wish him nothing but the best. I'll miss him out there."
Those on-field conversations with Urlacher were about "anything and everything," Rodgers said. "From schematic stuff to silly plays that might have been called. We had a back-and-forth one time where I'm making a check, he's making a check, his voice cracks, so (we were) laughing about that a few plays later during the TV timeout.
"Some of the checks that he would do were often very colorful. If he would've been mic'd up at those times, there would have been some good unedited NFL Films stuff. I just always appreciated the way he played the game, his approach, his professionalism. And competing against him was a great honor."
Packers coach Mike McCarthy sounded happy to no longer have to game plan against Urlacher.
"Everybody has so much respect for Brian, we certainly do here in Green Bay," McCarthy said in an interview this week with SiriusXM's NFL Radio. "Just an unbelievable football player, clearly the face of the franchise in Chicago for so many years. He definitely still can play. I don't think anybody questions that. I don't know the intricacies of his decision. I'm sure it's a personal decision that he is doing for all the right reasons. But a great player. A great player for a long time in our league.
"You could tell he was a true expert, studied the offenses. It was something we always had to make sure we had to change up because he was a very smart, very instinctive player. Made a lot of big plays in our games that we played over the last seven years against the Bears.
"I'm not going to miss playing against him, that's for sure."
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