Chicago Bears notebook: Urlacher still makes an impact

August 6, 2018 GMT

BOURBONNAIS -- Even in retirement, Hall of Fame MLB Brian Urlacher still impacts the Bears.

Coach Matt Nagy tweaked the Saturday night schedule, so his players could watch Urlacher’s acceptance speech as a team.

“I thought it was important for our guys to understand the significance of somebody standing up there at that podium with that jacket on and just talking about the Bears like he did and all the great people in the organization,” Nagy said. “He talked so much about others and not just about himself. I thought it was really telling for our guys. Again, I want to congratulate Brian for letting us be a part of his journey, and we had a blast and that was fun.”

Urlacher’s words carried over to Sunday’s full-pads practice, the most physical of camp to date.

“One of Brian’s messages (Saturday) night was about competition, and all he wanted to do was have people compete,” Nagy said. “That was our message to the guys is come out and compete with some live practice, and they did that. The energy was up, it was more of a game-like atmosphere, but they were smart. There were no fights, nothing stupid, they were all doing their assignments. (Saturday), I thought it was a bit of a step backwards, (Sunday) I thought we took two steps forward. So we were happy with that.”

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Setting the tone

Among the highlights of the full-contact portion of Sunday’s practice was the performance of 6-foot-5, 332-pound DL Akiem Hicks, who was in rare form when he stuffed RBs Benny Cunningham and Taquan Mizzell in the same series of plays.

“I don’t like pointing out a lot of guys,” coach Matt Nagy said, “but today, (No.) 96 (Hicks) brought it. You could see he was out there making a lot of plays. He understands it all starts with him -- it really does. For him to come out and set the tone was good for the defense.”

Leonard Floyd also looked impressive on a stop of Mizzell, as the outside linebacker continues to progress after an offseason in which he was eased back into action after knee surgery.

“Leonard’s real close, if not being there (already),” Nagy said. “You see him in the one-on-ones, and he’s got a great burst off that edge. He’s got some good moves that he’s working on right now. He’s in a good spot. It’s a credit to Leonard for working so hard to get to this point because we need him.”

Floyd had seven sacks in 12 games as a rookie in 2016 but just 4.5 last year, when he missed six games with injuries.

Injury update

WR Taylor Gabriel (foot) did not practice and is “day-to-day,” according to coach Matt Nagy, while OG Kyle Long had a scheduled day off. CB Cre’Von LeBlanc (groin), C Hroniss Grasu (ankle), OLB Aaron Lynch (hamstring) and WR Josh Bellamy also did not practice.

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