When Jonathan Bostic steps into one of football’s greatest positions and traditions – middle linebacker for the Chicago Bears – he will have the confidence of the most recent legend at the position.
Brian Urlacher, now an analyst for FOX Sports 1’s “FOX Football Daily” show, has seen what else has of Bostic at the position that Urlacher played with at a winning level for 13 years.
“He’s played mostly special teams so it’s hard to know,” Urlacher told CSNChicago.com. “In the time off [not starting since preseason] I’m not sure how much he ran the defense.
“But athletically he’s going to be OK. I don’t think he’s going to have any problems. I think he’s going to be a good player.”
Urlacher, a first-round pick in 2000, knows exactly what Bostic, the Bears’ second-round selection this year, is going through. Bostic is starting because of a season-ending chest injury to D.J. Williams. Urlacher only became the starting middle linebacker in his rookie season after an injury to Barry Minter in game two.
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Urlacher had been miscast initially and installed as the starter at strong-side linebacker, where he was beaten out during preseason by Rosevelt Colvin.
But when he was moved in as the starter in the middle, between Colvin and Warrick Holdman in what would become one of the NFL’s best linebacking corps, “I started calling the defense in that third game of the season and called the defenses from then on out.
“I was nervous a little bit in the beginning because I wasn’t sure how guys would respond to me. I was a rookie, a high draft pick and you don’t know how guys’ll respond.”
He paused, then laughed: “And we had some guys who were real jerks to me. They’re good friends now but they were jerks to me that year.”
Bostic is not expected to encounter “jerkism.” Urlacher has heard from his former teammates that “Bostic’s a good kid,” he said, which is a good starting point. And Bostic will not be tasked with calling the defensive signals as Urlacher was right from the beginning.
Williams had been helping Bostic learn NFL defense even before the injury, and “[Bostic’s] situation with Lance calling the defense will take a little bit of pressure off right there,” Urlacher said. “The less you can ask him to do, the better.
“And Lance is playing out of his mind right now. He’s so lucky to have Lance playing next to him this year.”