Chicago's man inthe middle is in camp preparing for his 10th NFL season. He addressed rumorsabout his relationship with new QB Jay Cutler
Dan Patrick: Areyou and Jay Cutler getting along?
Brian Urlacher:I've heard that question about 5,000 times.
DP: Let's get itout of the way. How did this become a story?
BU: Because[Vikings wideout] Bobby Wade said [Urlacher thinks Cutler is a"p----"]. I think he was just trying to get something stirred up, andit obviously worked because our media went crazy. All of a sudden [Cutler and Iwere supposedly] getting in fights in the locker room and nightclubs. I don'tknow where all that came from.
DP: Any truth toany of this?
BU: None of it.We've gotten along since Day One.
DP: Now are youcircling the date when you face the Vikings and Bobby Wade?
BU: Those datesare already circled, man. They won the division last year.
DP: Is DevinHester going to be an every-down wide receiver or is he still sort of aspecialty act?
BU: I think he'sgoing to focus on catching balls and not returning kicks.
DP: When you faceMatthew Stafford with the Lions, what can you do that will affect how he'llplay?
BU: He's going tohave a hard enough time just being a rookie. I don't have to say too much. Andbeing in the situation he's in, going to that team.... I don't know how highthe expectations are, but I'm sure they're higher than they were last year.
DP: But you wanthim to start, don't you?
BU: We like itwhen a rookie quarterback starts, unless it's Matt Ryan.
DP: When you lookback on your first or second year with the Bears, what do you see?
BU: Just a youngguy running around. I was watching some film the other day of my first threeseasons. I thought I was decent back then, but I just ran around the wholegame. That's the difference now. I didn't [stay in] a gap. I just ran to thefootball. I made a bunch of plays doing that. Maybe I should just say"screw my job" and run to the football.
DP: What do youthink of teams that fight during training camp? Good for the team?
BU: It's great,man. Practices drag on during camp, but if you get that fight early, theneverybody's on edge the rest of the day. We had two or three the other day. Theworst part about it is that Coach [Lovie] Smith makes you stay after you fight.So you're already tired as heck, and then he makes you stay.
DP: What's itlike when [Minnesota running back Adrian] Peterson gets the ball?
BU: He tests you.He'll bounce around so much back there, and then once he sees a crease he hitsit. You've got to be very gap controlled with him; no matter what you thinkhe's doing, just run through your gap. He's probably going to cut back toyou.
DP: Is thereanybody like him in the NFL?
BU: No, there'sno one as explosive as him. He does some things I haven't seen before. He'sdefinitely the best offensive player in the game.
DP: Can I pencilyou in for 10 wins?
BU: I think so.I'd like to say more, but 10 is a good starting point. Talentwise, we're upthere with anybody.
DP: So I'llpencil you in for the NFC title game, O.K.?
BU: That'd begreat too.
DP: Pen orpencil?
BU: You shoulduse a pen.
After PrinceFielder's tirade last week against Dodgers reliever Guillermo Mota, who threwat the Brewers' slugger (above) in retaliation for L.A.'s Manny Ramirez andJuan Pierre being hit earlier in the game, MLB Network analyst Al Leiter saidit takes some serious guts for National League pitchers to protect a teammate."There's definitely a fear factor if you know you've got to stand in the[batter's] box," said Leiter, a lefthander who pitched in the AL and NLduring his 19-year career. "If I knock you down and walk around with mychest puffed, and I know I have to bat every three innings ... I don't want totake Guillermo Mota's [95-mph fastball] in my back."
Line of theweek
Retired NBAexecutive and Hall of Famer Jerry West talked about the Lakers signing forwardRon Artest, who will replace departed free agent Trevor Ariza: "Will[Artest] fit into what they're doing? Trevor Ariza was a nice fit for them.Ariza's not as talented as Artest, but sometimes talent gets in the way ofpeople being able to play well together."
Hear Dan announcethe week's Got It Done Award every Monday.
PRESENTED BY grape-nuts
THE FINE PRINT:Eli Manning will sign a $97 million extension. But half of that is insurancethat he won't do commercials.
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MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II/1DEUCE3 PHOTOGRAPHY (PATRICK)
CHRISTIAN PETERSEN/GETTY IMAGES (FIELDER)
JUAN OCAMPO/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (WEST)
DENNIS WIERZBICKI/CAL SPORT MEDIA (URLACHER)