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Bears sensitive after Brian Urlacher's mother dies

No timetable for return, but team hopeful he plays Sunday Brad Biggs

Print This September 14, 2011, 09:14 PM EST

Thoughts and prayers from the Chicago Bears locker room are with middle linebacker Brian Urlacher as he’s with his family following the death of his mother Lavoyda Lenard, 51, on Monday.

The team doesn’t have any information on a timetable for Urlacher, who is grieving with family members.

“My mother, Lavoyda, unexpectedly passed away Monday at her home in Texas,” Urlacher said in a statement released by the organization this afternoon. “My first priority right now is to be with my family as we mourn her loss and make the arrangements to lay her to rest. This is a very difficult and emotional time for us and I sincerely ask that you respect our privacy. Thank you.”

Bears coach Lovie Smith said, “Hopefully, we'll have Brian ready to go this week.”

Obviously, the seven-time Pro Bowl performer could show up at the Superdome Sunday morning for the game vs. the New Orleans Saints and perform. The Bears are thin with only five linebackers on the 53-man roster. Although undrafted rookie free agent Dom DeCicco is listed as the backup at middle linebacker, strong-side linebacker Nick Roach would take Urlacher’s spot if needed. That would leave Brian Iwuh to play on the strong side.

The team wasn’t talking about what-ifs on Wednesday, though, after news spread.

“I’m lucky to be his coach,” Smith said. “But our relationship goes a lot further than that. I lost my mother earlier this year. One of the first guys on the telephone with me was Brian. Our players of course are concerned and we’re giving him family time right now. We’re just going to be there to support him in any way that we can and again just be there to help him through a tough time. Unless you’ve been through it, there’s no way to make it any better than it is at the time, but he’ll get through it.

“I know sometimes when you’re going through tough times, the best thing for you to do is to get back to something that you like doing, and football is very important to Brian. He has a big support group here, so I know he’s anxious to get back with his teammates. Again, I don’t think there’s a book on how you go through it. You just kind of take it one day at a time, which we’ll do.”
 

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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