Brian Urlacher Talks Bears, Hair Restoral, Cubs, Illini and More (Exclusive)

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“Anything that Brian is doing, of course should be entertaining,” said former Chicago Bears and current Illinois Fighting Illini Head Coach Lovie Smith this past week.

“I’m sure they’ll all have a great time with it,” Smith responded when we informed him exactly what Brian Urlacher would be up to this Sunday.

Smith was spot on, and perhaps even understating it a bit. Urlacher was one of the many celebrities appearing at the 17th Annual Chicago Polar Plunge Sunday morning at North Avenue beach, benefiting Special Olympics Chicago. Urlacher met with fans, took lots of pictures and served up bratwursts for Johnsonville, on a 65-foot semi-truck grill which can reportedly cook 2,500 brats an hour.

No #54 did not take the plunge himself, and during our semi-exclusive interview, made it very clear that he definitely did not have any intention of entering the frigid water that day.

He did however, discuss a whole multitude of topics with us. Right now the trending talk concerning Brian Urlacher is his Hair Restore advertising campaign, the company in Florida using his likeness without his authorization, and the lawsuit Urlacher filed against them.

If you drive in Chicago, then you’ve no doubt noticed these billboards:

The billboards have created quite a buzz, and Brian Urlacher himself is surprised by all of the attention that they have drawn.

“I did not think it was that big of a deal, when I did it,” he said.

“I thought alright, they’ll release it whatever. It was a big deal I guess. I did not realize that me having hair on my bald head was that big of a deal, but I’m glad I did it, my wife likes my hair, my kids like my hair and I like it too, so it works out.”

Urlacher said he’s definitely enjoying retirement, but did not reveal any major projects coming up.

“I don’t really make plans for projects, I just kind of take ’em as they come,” the legendary linebacker responded. He also indicated that he was not doing any more work in television at this time.

After being recruited by NFL Network in 2013, he joined up with FOX Sports, but resigned from that position in September 2014.

Urlacher was asked what the Chicago Bears need to do, in order to recover from a disastrous a 3-13 season in 2016.

“That’s a good question. I don’t know the answer to that question,” he responded.

“I felt like their defense played better as the season went on. They had so many injuries earlier in the season to their defensive line and their safeties and corners, and they had a lot of young guys play, which is going to help them this year, I think, but they’re going to be better.”

“They’ve got a couple big holes seal up on offense but Coach Fox has won everywhere he’s been, so it won’t be any different here.”

Urlacher, who is eligible for the Pro Football Hall of fame next year (spoiler alert: he’ll get in), was just named to the most recent college football Hall of Fame class in January. We asked him what he thinks the Bears might do with the third overall pick come draft night.

“It’s hard to say. Free agency is coming up, they’ll probably spend a lot of money in free agency, I’m assuming. Hopefully [they’ll] get the best player. There’s a lot of [defensive] linemen in this draft. Offensive linemen are always good picks that high as well.”

Great meeting World Series champ today! Thanks again @addison_russell #cubs #worldserieschamps #chicago #baseball

A post shared by Brian Urlacher (@54urlacher) on

Brian Urlacher also discussed his recent trip to Cubs spring training in Arizona, where he met some of the 2016 World Series champions.

“It was great, the fans are crazy after what happened last year and they have the whole team basically coming back. They didn’t really lose anybody. They lost Dexter Fowler, he’s a pretty good player, but they’re excited, the fans are nuts,” Urlacher said.

 “My kids were excited to be out there. They got a chance to meet all the guys they watch on TV, so it was cool.”

brian-urlacher

Brian Urlacher also gave his thoughts on Lovie Smith and the program his former head coach is currently rebuilding down in Champaign. Smith went a very disappointing 3-9 in year one at Illinois, and very early prognostications for the Illini in 2017 are not positive.

“Lovie should have come out and jumped in the water,” he said on a day that started cold but became very mild by late afternoon.

“Lovie loves the cold weather; that’s his thing,” Brian Urlacher said (jokingly? half-jokingly? With a Lovie style dry sense of humor?)

lovie smith

“I hope they do well. He’ll get some of his players in there, they’ll be better. He’s a winner. He’s been successful everywhere he’s been at every level”

While Urlacher himself is a pretty huge deal in recent Chicago Bears history, the event he appeared at is high profile in its own right. Actor Dax Shepard was officially deemed the VIP of this year’s event and past polar plunges have attracted Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Jimmy Fallon, Vince Vaughn, Lady Gaga and members from the casts of “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago PD” and “Chicago Med.”

Traditionally, many participants get dressed up like it’s Halloween for this special event.

“I’ve always known about the Polar Plunge, but I’ve never been a part of it. I came out with Johnsonville to serve brats to everyone on the 65-foot grill, the biggest grill in the world. This is an exciting deal and it’s for a great cause. The Special Olympics is a great thing and something near and dear to my heart.

“I have been doing stuff for the Special Olympics my whole career when I played and a little bit after as well.”

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, partnered with FOX Sports Engage Network. and News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times and NBC Chicago.com, contributes to Chicago Tribune.comBoldWGN CLTV and KOZN

Follow him on TwitterInstagramSound Cloud and YouTube

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