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Urlacher tabs Babich as Hall of Fame presenter

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The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced Monday that former Bears assistant coach Bob Babich will serve as Brian Urlacher's presenter for his enshrinement Aug. 4 in Canton.

Babich worked with Urlacher for nine of his 13 seasons with the Bears from 2004-12 as linebackers coach and defensive coordinator. During that span, the star middle linebacker was voted to four Pro Bowls and named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2005.

"I asked him last week and he said he would be honored to present me at the Hall of Fame," Urlacher told ChicagoBears.com. "I just felt like professionally he got the most out of me. He challenged me every day, whether it was in meetings, walkthroughs or practice. He got the most out of me and Lance [Briggs] and everyone in that linebacker room."

Urlacher feels that Babich helped him take his game to the next level.

"He's just an awesome coach," Urlacher said. "I feel like once he got there—and this is no slight to any coach I had before him—there was just a change in the way I played the game in terms of my attention to detail. I knew exactly what gap I had, I knew exactly what gap everyone on our defense had. I knew what every guy on our defense was supposed to do and that's because of him. There was no doubt in my mind what every guy was supposed to do on every single play."

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As you'd expect, Babich was thrilled when he was asked to be Urlacher's presenter.

"It's a humbling situation," Babich told ChicagoBears.com. "It's something I never expected to happen, to be around a great player like Brian, and for him to choose me as his presenter is quite an honor. Once again, it's a very humbling experience."

Urlacher was voted into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. Selected by the Bears with the ninth pick in the 2000 draft out of New Mexico, he 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.

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. The only players who've started more games for the Bears are Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton (184) and center Olin Kreutz (183).

"He was the best," Babich said of Urlacher. "A guy as talented as he is to come in and want to get better every day and take the coaching, it was unbelievably fun to be around him and see the success that he had in his career as a Bear.

"He was a great teammate. Not a good teammate, he was a great teammate to his fellow players. Off the field, he was as good of a person character-wise as he was a football player on the field."

Urlacher becomes the 28th Bears player to be voted into the Hall of Fame, most of any NFL team. He joins a Hall of Fame lineage of Bears middle linebackers that includes Bill George, Dick Butkus and Mike Singletary.

Urlacher is one of eight members of the Hall of Fame's Class of 2018. The others are middle linebacker Ray Lewis, receivers Randy Moss and Terrell Owens, safety Brian Dawkins, senior finalists Jerry Kramer and Robert Brazile, and contributor finalist Bobby Beathard.

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