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Bears’ Urlacher Placed on Injured Reserve

December 22, 2004

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) _ Star linebacker Brian Urlacher’s season ended Wednesday when he was placed on injured reserve by the Chicago Bears.

Urlacher pulled his left hamstring Dec. 12 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, forcing him to leave the game early and to miss Sunday’s 24-5 loss to the Texans.

``This was a major pull, I guess we should say,″ coach Lovie Smith said. ``So it was a matter of that he’s injured, he couldn’t really help us right now.″

Urlacher, who failed to make the Pro Bowl for the first time in his five NFL seasons, missed two games following surgery to relieve internal bleeding in his left calf. He missed the third and fourth games of the season with a pulled right hamstring.

The right hamstring was originally injured on the first day of training camp, and he missed all of the preseason.

Prior to this season, Urlacher had never missed an NFL game. He had played 66 straight games and made 64 straight starts before missing the Sept. 26 game against the Vikings.

He played nine games this year, all starts, and ranks third on the team with 104 tackles. He leads all middle linebackers in sacks with five and has two forced fumbles and one interception.

Strong side linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer moved over to replace Urlacher in the middle. To replace Urlacher on the roster, the Bears promoted defensive end Alain Kashama from the practice squad. The Bears signed rookie linebacker Carl Diggs to replace Kashama on the practice squad.

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