During a rare interview Monday with two of his ex-teammates, former Bears star Mike Brown discussed his successors at the safety position, Brian Urlacher's future and more.
Speaking to Nate Vasher and Jason McKie on ChicagolandSportsRadio.com, Brown said that he was impressed with how Bears safeties Major Wright and Chris Conte performed this season.
"Major Wright took a lot of steps improving his game and I really do like Conte. Major's more of a punisher. He's out there dealing some major blows to receivers and Conte's a real heady safety and sure tackler who's always in the right spot. That's a great combination to have for safeties."
A hard-hitting team leader, Brown remains one of the most popular players in recent Bears history. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2005 and probably deserved to go in 2001 when he became the first NFL player to return interceptions for touchdowns in overtime in back-to-back games.
The Bears chose Urlacher and Brown with their first two picks in the 2000 NFL Draft, at No. 9 and No. 39 respectively, forever linking the two long-time teammates.
Urlacher, 34, missed the final four games of the 2012 season with a hamstring injury and is slated to become an unrestricted free agent. Asked if he thinks the star middle linebacker will return to the Bears next season, Brown said: "That's a difficult question. Just knowing how the end of careers usually happen, it doesn't seem like he'll be back as a Bear.
"I don't know if he still wants to play. He's getting up there in years. The body's kind of wearing down a little bit. So I bet you this offseason he'll probably really look deep and see if his body's able to go through another season. It's a brutal game and once your body fails you it's pretty much a wrap."
Brown also shared some thoughts about the Bears offense, which struggled again in 2012 despite a monster season from Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall, who set franchise records with 118 receptions and 1,508 yards in his first year in Chicago.
"I don't think they used [Devin] Hester enough," Brown said. "I really think you get him the ball anyway you can because that dude is super dangerous. They were kind of one-dimensional with the passing game because all they did was throw to Brandon Marshall. But he's a beast. That dude is unbelievable. He had an awesome season."
Brown feels the Bears need a better performance from their offensive line.
"It really starts with the protection," he said. "If you can't protect the quarterback, it's going to be difficult to find any rhythm on offense. That's the biggest thing that I saw, that the offensive line wasn't able to consistently protect Jay [Cutler]. If you could do that, the offense could be lethal."
Roster move: The Bears on Tuesday signed linebacker Patrick Trahan to a reserve/future contract. Trahan spent the first 12 weeks of the 2011 season on the Bears practice squad before recording five special teams tackles in the final five games.
Trahan spent the first 11 weeks of the 2012 season on the practice squad before appearing in one game on special teams in a loss to the Seahawks. He was then waived Dec. 4.