Bears Hall of Fame middle linebackers Dick Butkus, Bill George, Mike Singletary and Brian Urlacher are among 25 linebacker finalists for the NFL 100 All-Time Team.
In celebration of the league's 100th season, a roster of the 100 greatest players and 10 best coaches has been compiled. Over six consecutive Friday nights, host Rich Eisen will be joined by Patriots coach Bill Belichick and analyst Cris Collinsworth to introduce the All-Time Team on NFL Network.
The 12 linebackers on the team will be unveiled this Friday at 7 p.m. (CT).
Butkus was voted to the Pro Bowl in each of his first eight NFL seasons. He was also selected as an All-Pro in seven of his nine years with the Bears. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1979 in his first year of eligibility, the Illinois product set an NFL record that has since been broken with 25 career fumble recoveries. His jersey No. 51 was retired by the Bears in 1994.
George is credited with inventing the middle linebacker position when he dropped off the line of scrimmage in a 1954 game against the Eagles. He was voted to eight Pro Bowls and was an eight-time first-team All-Pro selection during 14 seasons with the Bears from 1952-65. George was a key member of the 1963 championship team, was named to the NFL All-Decade Team for the 1950s and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1974. His No. 61 is retired by the Bears.
Singletary was selected by the Bears in the second round of the 1981 draft. He was voted to 10 Pro Bowls in 12 seasons, the most in franchise history. Singletary was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1985 and '88 and was voted to the league's All-Decade Team for the 1980s. He finished first or second on the team in tackles in each of his final 11 seasons. He was enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 1998.
Chosen by the Bears with the ninth pick in the 2000 draft out of New Mexico, Urlacher played all 13 of his illustrious NFL seasons in Chicago. He was voted to eight Pro Bowls, was a four-time first-team All-Pro, was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2000 and was selected NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2005. Urlacher helped the Bears win four division titles and reach the Super Bowl in 2006. He started 180 of 182 games played, recording a team-record 1,779 tackles, 41.5 sacks, 22 interceptions, 16 fumble recoveries and 11 forced fumbles. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018.
Following each premiere of the NFL 100 All-Time Team will be the NFL 100 All-Time Team Reaction Show, a one-hour live recap hosted by Chris Rose where the selections from each episode will be debated and discussed.
The process to select and celebrate the historic team began in early 2018 with the appointment of a 26-person blue-ribbon voting panel made up of coaches, team and front office executives, former players and members of the media with a deep appreciation for the history of the league, its teams and players, as well as a commitment to research.