Lovie Smith gives effusive praise of Brian Urlacher

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Lovie Smith said that what made Brian Urlacher a bona fide first-ballot Hall of Fame linebacker was more than just an across-the-board complete skill set, but the ability to know where every player was supposed to be on the field at all times. Lovie Smith said that what made Brian Urlacher a bona fide first-ballot Hall of Fame linebacker was more than just an across-the-board complete skill set, but the ability to know where every player was supposed to be on the field at all times.

CHAMPAIGN -- Illinois head coach Lovie Smith is famous for his allergy to all things pertaining to hyperbole.

That's why when he praises someone effusively, you know it's sincere. This week the former leader of the Bears did just that when recalling what made his former captain and All-Pro linebacker Brian Urlacher special.

The first-ballot Hall of Famer was much more than just a bone-crushing linebacker for Smith's squad.

"Anytime a player had something he was dealing with," Smith said, "he would go through Brian. He was a lot more than just a football player. You talk about 'coach on the field.' All of those things. Great father, family man. Just so many things that he brought to the field ... He'll never get the credit he deserves for his football knowledge."

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