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|>The bar was set high for Brian Urlacher when he joined the Chicago Bears as a first-round middle linebacker back in 2000.Few teams are as closely identified with one position as the Bears are at middle linebacker with players like Bill George Cheap Customized Philadelphia Eagles Jerseys , Dick Butkus and Mike Singletary personifying the Monsters of the Midway on the way to Hall of Fame careers.Urlacher lived up to that lofty standard and will join that talented trio in Canton when he is inducted into the hall on Saturday.“It wasn’t even on my mind when I played,” Urlacher said after getting voted into the hall on his first try in February. “I didn’t think this would ever be a possibility. So many things have to go right. You have to stay healthy, you have to play well, you’ve got to win some games, do some things. This is the summit of playing football right here.”Urlacher did not make himself available for interviews leading up to inductions.Urlacher was a different type of middle linebacker than his predecessors in Chicago, the perfect piece in the NFL of the 2000s with the speed and coverage skills that allowed him to play safety in college. That helped him match up against running backs and tight ends and roam sideline to sideline.He also had the ability to drop deep into coverage, making him the perfect middle linebacker on coach Lovie Smith’s Tampa 2 defense that Urlacher helped make so stout in Chicago on the way to a Super Bowl appearance following the 2006 season.“I’ve had an opportunity to be around so many great linebackers, but some of them are just made for the position,” Smith said. “Derrick Brooks is made to be a Will linebacker, an outside guy in our system. Brian Urlacher, you can’t draw it up any better. Everybody knew that he looked the part and he played the part.”Smith knew about Urlacher’s physical talents when he arrived as the new coach in Chicago in 2004 after Urlacher had made the Pro Bowl in each of his first four seasons, and was a two-time All-Pro. An early team meeting taught him about Urlacher’s mentality when he told the defense he expected the unit to lead the league in turnovers. Urlacher stayed after and set the tone for those dominant Bears defenses.“He said: ‘Coach, let me get this right. In order for us to lead the league we have to wait for the offense to turn the ball over?'” Smith recalled. “That was the first time I’d looked at it that way. Brian called it a takeaway on the defensive side of the ball. The offense turns the ball over. Defensively, your job is to take the ball away every time. No one bought into us taking the ball away as much as Brian did.”No defense took the ball away more than the Bears in the nine seasons Smith and Urlacher were together Authentic Byron Maxwell Jersey , with 292 takeaways. No linebacker other than fellow 2018 Hall of Fame inductee Ray Lewis took the ball away more than Urlacher during his 13-year career: 22 interceptions and 16 fumble recoveries.Urlacher also had 41陆 sacks and finished his career as the Bears’ all-time leading tackler. He won awards as the top defensive rookie in 2000, Defensive Player of the Year in 2005, earned five All-Pro selections, eight Pro Bowl bids and helped the Bears win four division titles.“Brian was the best,” said Packers quarterback and longtime NFC North rival Aaron Rodgers. “He was probably one of the smartest players I ever played against. Just a great feel for the scheme, the game, reading his keys. Just incredibly instinctual player. Great hands. Average elusiveness, I can say that, because I tackled him one time. But one of the best to ever do it at that position in an era where some of the louder guys maybe got the attention 鈥?expecting the middle linebacker to be a loud yeller or rah-rah guy. Brian went about it in a very classy way. Played the game the right way and was an incredible player.”Urlacher was not always destined for greatness. He was lightly recruited out of high school and ended up at New Mexico after Texas Tech didn’t offer him a scholarship.But he thrived with the Lobos and made himself a first-round pick.“I’ve had some great freshmen, but from the minute he arrived, every coach stood up and took notice,” former New Mexico coach Dennis Franchione said. “I remember sometime in the first 10 days of two-a-days, six of the nine assistant coaches came in 鈥?although independently, I didn’t think they talked about it 鈥?they said Dallas Goedert Eagles Jersey , ‘Coach, when are you going to play Urlacher.’ And I said, ‘I’m not sure yet.’ They said, ‘I’ll take him at my position.’ I think that was everybody except the quarterback coach, the line coach and the receivers coach. That’s how versatile he was. …“He was a heat-seeking missile from the time he arrived on campus. Not only that, he was a really coachable, bright young man. Made other people better. You can just go on and on about him.”AP Sports Writer Andrew Seligman contributed to this report. By the 16th inning, the Tampa Bay Rays had their backup catcher pitching, and the Miami Marlins had one of their pitchers pinch-hit.It was a battle of attrition, and Tampa Bay won.
Jake Bauers hit a tiebreaking two-out, two-run double in a five-run 16th, ending the Rays’ 13-inning scoreless streak and lifting them over Miami 9-6 on Tuesday night.
”There were a lot of people doing things they’re not used to doing,” Bauers said.
That included Rays reliever Vidal Nuno (2-1), who pitched two scoreless innings and also had two hits. He was thrown out on a headfirst slide trying to stretch a single into a double in the 15th Cheap Customized Arizona Cardinals Jerseys , singled home a run in the 16th and then left the game after straining his right hamstring sprinting to first base.
Nuno will likely go on the disabled list, manager Kevin Cash said.
”What a performance,” Cash said. ”Amazing.”
”That was an incredible effort by Nuno, especially the dive into second base ,” Bauers said. ”That was one of the crazier things I’ve seen on a baseball field.”
Nuno became the first American League reliever to record two or more hits and earn a victory in the same game since the designated hitter rule was adopted in 1973.
Miami’s J.T. Realmuto led off the 15th with a double, but Nuno pitched out of the jam.
With the Rays leading 9-4 in the 16th and short on pitchers, backup catcher Jesus Sucre took the mound for the bottom of the inning but gave up three consecutive singles and a sacrifice fly.
Jose Alvarado came on and walked pinch-hitting pitcher Dan Straily before Cameron Maybin grounded out to end the 5 1/2-hour marathon. That gave the Rays their ninth win in 11 games.
”It got a little stressful there at the end,” Cash said. ”We appreciate the win, but we’re beat up.”
Announced attendance was 6,259, and a few hundred remained at the finish. The Marlins offered two tickets to each fan leaving after the game.
Johnny Field singled to start the Rays’ five-run 16th against Brett Graves (0-1), and Carlos Gomez was hit by a pitch. After Kevin Kiermaier hit into a double play, Matt Duffy walked, and both scored on Bauers’ double.
The runs were the first for the Rays since the second inning Nathan Shepherd Jersey Jets , when they led 4-0.
Right fielder Mallek Smith was yanked in the fourth inning for missing a sign, Cash said, which left the Rays even more shorthanded in the late innings. Reliever Sergio Romo batted in the 12th, struck out and remains hitless in his career.
”Definitely not how you draw it up in a lot of different ways,” Duffy said. ”In a 16-inning game there are going to be some ugly things. Not an ideal day, but we’re happy to come out with the win.”
Wilson Ramos hit a two-run homer for the Rays, his 12th.
Miami’s Brian Anderson singled home a run in the fifth and has 33 hits with runners in scoring position to lead the majors. Teammate Justin Bour had three hits and scored once.
Rays center fielder Kiermaier threw out Anderson trying to score on a flyout to end the fifth and keep the score at 4-all. Tampa Bay’s Chaz Roe struck out Realmuto with runners at second and third in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings.
”A lot of ifs and buts in a game like that,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.
Marlins: RHP Sandy Alcantara will be placed on the 10-day disabled list with an infection under his upper right arm.
Rays: RHP Chris Archer (left abdominal strain) threw four hitless innings in a rehab start for Class A Charlotte. … RHP Jake Faria (left oblique strain) is scheduled to throw live batting practice Wednesday.
Marlins RHP Jose Urena (2-9, 4.40), sidelined since June 20 with right shoulder impingement, is expected to come off the disabled list to start Wednesday afternoon against RHP Matt Andriese (1-3, 3.86).