Will the Dallas Cowboys sign Brian Urlacher? That is the question Cowboys fans are waking up to Tuesday as rumors float that Jerry Jones and his staff are contemplating signing the former Chicago Bears middle linebacker. Urlacher has not played football in a year since retiring after the 2012 season.
Dallas is currently in need of a linebacker after losing Sean Lee to a torn ACL suffered on the first day of OTA’s last week. Lee was the best player the Cowboys had returning to a defensive unit that ranked third-worst of all time in yards allowed in 2013. Urlacher’s play had diminished greatly the final season of his career with the Bears but the Cowboys are apparently pondering the move given his relationship and familiarity with defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.
Marinelli was the Bears defensive coordinator for four seasons and Urlacher ran the same defense that Marinelli uses now. Playing in the 4-3 Tampa 2 defense again would likely be Urlacher’s best chance to be productive at the age of 36. Urlacher’s change of direction and range on the field had slipped dramatically but if Jerry Jones sees someone who can at least help stuff the run Urlacher could be the answer.
The retirement of the former All-Pro was not completely of his own doing as the future Hall-of-Famer reluctantly walked away from the game after the Bears fired former head coach Lovie Smith and brought in offensive minded Marc Trestman to take over. Urlacher was not comfortable with Trestman nor the cut-rate contract offer that Chicago general manager Phil Emery made to him. Urlacher initially shopped his services around the NFL before finally deciding that retirement was preferable to starting over with a new team or playing for a new regime in Chicago.
Moving forward the question will be does Dallas sign Urlacher and can he contribute to Marinelli’s defense in 2014? The answer could take awhile as the Cowboys evaluate what they already have before moving on Urlacher.
Sean Lee offers Martin support – Cowboys first round pick Zack Martin was the player who ran into Lee when the Cowboys defender hurt his knee on his first day of practice with the Cowboys veterans. Losing Lee is a major blow to the Cowboys but Martin says his new teammates have treated him well and absolved him of any wrong doing, including Lee. It also believed Lee suffered the injury just before the collision with Martin.
Bryant shuns contract talk – Dez Bryant, always in the spotlight and usually surrounded by controversy in not having it this time. The former Oklahoma State receiver is entering the final season of a rookie contract that will pay him just less than $2 million but has repeatedly refused to discuss the possibility of a long-term deal with reporters. Bryant is expected to garner a deal similar to that of Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall, which averages between $10-12 million annually but he has deferred all questions to his agent.
Urlacher a Cowboy? Bryant avoids controversy? Something is in the air in Dallas as fans ponder whether or not the Jerry Jones will sign Urlacher and Dez Bryant refuses to talk to the media about a contract extension.
Commentary by Mick Varner
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer covering the Dallas Cowboys