By DJ Moore
As a young player in the National Football League, I did not know what to expect once I was drafted. I remember walking in the locker room eyes wide open to the possibilities that were before me. The first thing I noticed when entering the locker room were the names above all the lockers. Then you look up and see your own name. I remember the first time I saw Brian Urlacher. I watched him walk by me afraid to say something to him because of a perceived notion that he might be an asshole. I assumed all-stars were assholes because all the movies I watched portrayed them that way. I learned quickly that Brian Urlacher was NOT that type of guy.
Once my second year came around and I moved into the nickel back position I got to interact with him more often. He was a real lighthearted guy who loved to laugh. Don’t get me wrong if you screwed up on the field, he would chew you out, but it was always followed by a joke. He always seemed to help you weather the storm. He was more than a Hall of Fame player, he was a real good person as well. After playing along side him and Lance, I earned the nickname “baby backer.” This was a nickname I truly cherished. It meant I was accepted into a prestigious group — the Chicago Bears linebackers’ group. I think no other group in history commands respect quiet like that group. Lining up beside the man, the myth, the legend every snap was a pleasure.
What I truly appreciated about who Urlacher is as a man took place my third year in the NFL. A story came out about me dealing with my mom’s drug addiction. I remember Lance coming to me saying he had a similar story about one of his relatives. Then while walking in the hallway passing the trainer’s office, I see Urlacher approaching me. I got the sense he wanted to say something to me, but he wasn’t sure how to deliver it. He finally got a little bit closer and spoke, “I would like to pay for your mom to go to rehab, this would be strictly between us. Do not worry about the money, you would not owe me a dime.” I didn’t accept the offer but gained even more respect for him than I already had. Playing on that defense was a life changing experience. We had each other’s backs on the field and if they needed it , off the field as well. It all started at the top with the man himself, Brian Urlacher. I will forever tell people I didn’t play nickel back. I was a baby backer, a name given to me by a legend.
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