- Urlacher, who retired from the NFL in 2012, was nominated as a semifinalist for the NFL Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. We catch up with the former Bears linebacker, who talks about his thoughts on concussions, coaching his son in football and—after years of being bald—why he now has hair.
After Brian Urlacher retired from football in 2013, he followed the usual retirement routine—he hung out with his three kids, he traveled and he played lots of golf. He basically fell off the face of the map … except for the billboards all around Chicago, promoting a company that helps re-grow hair.
Yes, in his retirement, Urlacher has a full head of hair, and it’s all anyone seems to ask him about these days. The MMQB caught up with Urlacher last week, as he was being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, to talk about his hair, the state of the Bears, and his chances of being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame next year.
Tim Rohan: We haven’t heard a lot from you since you retired.
Brian Urlacher: That’s a good thing.
Rohan: You’re up for the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year. What do you think are your chances of getting in?
Urlacher: Honestly, I don’t know. I don’t know how the voting system works. I’ve tried not to pay attention. When it’s on TV in July or August, I’ll watch it. Other than that, I don’t know a whole lot about it.
Rohan: So you’re not campaigning for yourself?
Urlacher: No, I’m not. I’m not paying super close attention. My body of work is not going to change. I can’t go back and change how many tackles I had, how many picks. What I’ve done is what I’ve done.
Rohan: How do you feel physically, at 39 years old?
Urlacher: Pretty good, man. My back is a little stiff, but I think that’s just a guy thing, though. Most of my friends have sore backs, too. Overall, I feel pretty good. My wrist gets sore every once in a while, but I feel good.
Rohan: Since you’ve retired, concussions and CTE have become the talk of football…
Urlacher: It’s taken a turn toward major safety.
Rohan: Is that something you think about now, looking back?
Urlacher: No, I don’t think about it. My son started playing tackle football this year. I told him, I said, look, I’m all about you playing, but you will get hurt. It’s just a matter of when and how bad. So you can play at your own risk. I’m behind you. If you don’t want to play, I’m happy with that, too. But if you want to play, let’s do it.
Rohan: How old is he?
Urlacher: He’s 12.
Rohan: What do you think of the Bears rebuild going on now?
Urlacher: I’m super excited. I know they’re 3–9 or three-and … whatever they are. I’m so excited with where they’re going. I love coach [John] Fox. I’ve known him for a long time. [Mitchell] Trubisky is The Man. I’m a huge fan of his. Tarik Cohen, he’s an exciting guy. If we get a couple of receivers healthy, you know we’ve got a bunch of guys banged up. And the defense is unbelievable. The offense hasn’t done a whole lot, but the defense has played well every single week.
Rohan: Have you met Trubisky?
Urlacher: I met him last summer when a couple of my old teammates and I went and spoke to the rookies. A very smart young man—classy. The thing I like about him, in his interviews, he’s not talking about himself. He’s talking about what he can do better to help the team, what the team’s done. It’s not about Mitch. It’s about what the team can do better. I like that. He’s saying all the right things.
Rohan: I have to ask you about the hair, too.
Urlacher: Oh yeah, everyone talks about the hair. If you’re driving through Chicago, you can’t miss the damn billboards everywhere. It’s unbelievable! Now when I see a picture of myself bald, I’m like … [groans]. I’m so used to seeing myself with hair now, I don’t know. You just get used to something and that’s the way it is.
Rohan: Can you take me through it? Why did you decide to get hair?
Urlacher: So I had a buddy who went and got the procedure done. He was bald, and he was trying to hang onto it. See, I was fine being bald, because I have a good-shaped head. But he was like, Dude, you should try it out. But I didn’t want a scar on my head. He said ‘There’s no scars.’
So I went and got it done. And luckily my wife was like, it looks pretty good. When your wife says yeah, you’ve got to do it, right? If it makes her happy, then I’m happy. So I went ahead and stuck with it. Now I’m a spokesman.
Rohan: Yeah I was going to say. How did that come about?
Urlacher: Well, beforehand we had kind of had all of that figured out. But always with the preface that, if I didn’t like it, I could shave it back.
Rohan: You had a fallback option.
Urlacher: I have a good-shaped head, man!
Rohan: But your wife approved.
Urlacher: Yeah, it was a family decision, because my kids had to deal with it, too. At the release party, it was like, oh man, are they going to make fun of it, too? So…
Rohan: So do you get comments, or what?
Urlacher: A ton of them. And you know what? The best thing is, people don’t recognize me. If I don’t wear a hat, people are like, I don’t think that’s him... So it’s actually pretty nice. It’s a nice disguise.
Rohan: So you’re enjoying retirement?
Urlacher: I really am. I’m having a good time. I’m not bored yet. The three kids keep me busy. Got some other hobbies that I’ve gotten into.
Rohan: What other hobbies?
Urlacher: Mountain biking is my number one right now. The treadmill and the damn elliptical—they get so boring to me. I’d get so bored doing that every day. So I started doing hiking, and then I saw a guy on a mountain bike and I was like, man, that looks like fun. So I bought a mountain bike, and I love it. I go six days a week. In Arizona, there’s mountains behind my house. We’ll just go up there and we’ll ride 10–15 miles a day. I rode for 52 miles last week. I love it.
Rohan: Do you ever think about getting back into football? Coaching?
Urlacher: No, no. I coached my son this year. That’s as far as I’ll go.
Rohan: How’d that go for you?
Urlacher: Terrible! They don’t listen! [Laughs] And if a 12-year-old is not going to listen, why would a 25-year-old listen to me?