INDIANAPOLIS – Former Bears player and assistant coach Ron Rivera was thrilled when Brian Urlacher was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last month in his first year of eligibility.
"It was awesome, it really was," the Panthers head coach told ChicagoBears.com this week at the NFL Combine. "Brian is a tremendous man, and that's the best way to put it. He really is a good person first and foremost, and then a heck of a football player. I'm very happy and very pleased that I got the opportunity to be around him."
Chicagobears.com cameras were with Bears great Brian Urlacher before, during and after he received a knock on the door telling him that he was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Urlacher was voted into the Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2018 on Feb. 3, the day before Super Bowl LII in Minnesota. Selected 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 and was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2000.
Rivera, who played linebacker with the Bears from 1984-92, returned to serve as the team's defensive coordinator for three seasons from 2004-06. In 2005, Urlacher was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year. The following season, the star middle linebacker helped the Bears win the NFC Championship and reach the Super Bowl.
"He cared so much," Rivera said. "He cared so much about the people around him. He cared so much about his family. He cared so much about his coaches. And more importantly he cared a lot about football.
"It was never about him. It was about the people around him, about his teammates, and I think that's what good leaders are. They want to give credit to everybody else."