Urlacher finds Sayers' words difficult to bear
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CHICAGO -- Brian Urlacher doesn't have an issue with criticism unless it comes from within the Bears family. Such is the case regarding Hall of Famer Gale Sayers recently questioning quarterback Jay Cutler's ability, putting coach Lovie Smith on the spot and implying Urlacher was getting too old.
"Let me ask you a question: 'How many championships did Gale Sayers win?' " Urlacher told the Chicago Tribune. "How many playoff games did he win when he played? None. None. None.
"Does it bother me? There are enough people throwing daggers at us right now, why does one of our ex-players have to jump in? There are enough experts talking [dirt] about us, so why does a Bear, an all-time great, have to jump in? I just don't like that."
During a speaking engagement May 4 in Nebraska, Sayers said this:
"Cutler hasn't done the job. Urlacher, I don't know how good he's going to be coming back. ... They need a couple wide receivers, a couple defensive backs. ... If Lovie doesn't do it this year, I think he's gone. ..."
Although Urlacher acknowledges Sayers' individual accomplishments, he has little respect for those opinions.
"... Does [Sayers] know how to win football games? Does he? No. How are you going to criticize someone else when you haven't done it yourself? He's one of our own, so that's why it's so frustrating."
Sayers, who played on a 1-13 Bears team in 1969 and did not reach the postseason in seven seasons, responded to Urlacher's comments when reached by phone Wednesday.
"When I am asked a question, I have to answer it," Sayers said during a break from a business trip in Atlanta. "I don't want anybody to think I am afraid to talk about the Bears. ... Right now, the Bears are hurting. ...
"And Urlacher, how old is he anyway [32 Tuesday]? He should know that himself, that he is on the downside of his career."
"If somebody asks me, 'How do you think the Bears are going to do this year?' If I say, 'Oh, they are going to win 14 ball games,' they know the Bears can't win 14 ball games," Sayers said. "Why should I lie to the people? ... Football people understand that."
Sayers teammate Dick Butkus stepped into the fray Thursday by phone from his Southern California home, telling the Tribune: "It's a real reach to say: 'What did Gale do?' [Shoot], Urlacher wasn't even born yet, what does he know?
"I say things to other people too about the Bears. It's total frustration. You think [Sayers] is saying it because he hates the Bears? You get so tired of sitting there watching them."
Urlacher, who has met Sayers a few times, said he would talk if Sayers wanted to have a conversation
And he's no stranger to such controversy himself because he criticized the team publicly while injured last season.
"... Does [Gale Sayers] know how to win football games? Does he? No. How are you going to criticize someone else when you haven't done it yourself?"
First Published May 23, 2010 12:00 am