Public feud between Urlacher, ex-Bears continues

Lovie Smith would prefer that family matter stay in house.

Unfortunately for him, this Brian Urlacher war of words with former Bears who happen to wear Hall of Fame rings has spilled out in a very public manner.

And the ex-Bears continue to rally to the support of Gale Sayers. It’s the story the Bears really didn’t need as a distraction this weekend for minicamp.

“Those are guys in the Bear family,” Smith said. “When you’re in a family, ideally you would like to keep things in but when you’re in the Bear family, no one in the Bear family is happy with where we are right now. That’s why you need minicamps and things like that. Our football team is better and when we play better this year, everybody will be happy.”

No one is real happy right now. Dick Butkus joined Sayers’ side on Thursday and today Mike Ditka and Dan Hampton weighed in, backing guess who? Sayers.

“Ultimately, (the Bears) haven't been successful in three years. However you want to cut it, those are the facts. Gale Sayers just had the audacity to point it out,” Hampton told ESPN Chicago.

“The doublespeak part of the whole thing is since Gale and Dick Butkus didn't win a Super Bowl, maybe they don't have the right to say anything. Well, I beg to differ. Their rings say 'Hall of Famer,' and last time I checked, that was a pretty select group."

Ditka also didn’t see anything wrong with what Sayers had to say.

“I like Brian Urlacher a lot, I think he's one heck of a football player," Ditka told ESPN radio. "It's unfortunate to have this in the Bears family. I don't like it. I don't think Gale was being that critical, honestly. I think somebody asked him a question. They asked him about the state of the Chicago Bears. He answered very honestly what he thought about Cutler. He answered very honestly what he thought about the coach. Brian's coming off an injury. Brian's a great football player, he has to stay healthy, there's no question about that. Nobody can play when they're hurt.

"So I don't know where it was so inflammatory. I didn't see that. And I understand, your feathers get ruffled here and there. When somebody sees something they think is wrong, I don't think it's wrong to say it. Sometimes criticism pointed in the right direction can help you.

"The Bears are in the North division. Right now, they have two concerns: Green Bay and Minnesota. That should be their only two concerns. Unless they can control their division they're not going to win. And right now there are two teams that are playing better than they are, and that's Green Bay and Minnesota."

Our guess is this story will die down by the end of the weekend. Of course, it would get more interesting if some current players would rally to Urlacher’s side, showing a real disconnect between today’s players and ones of the past. Maybe some of the blame should fall on the organization. You rarely see the most famous players in franchise history around the team. Maybe this serves as a reminder that relationships need to be fostered not forgotten.

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