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Urlacher Could Be Out for Season

Associated Press
Friday, December 17, 2004; Page D05

Brian Urlacher will likely miss Sunday's game against Houston with a hamstring injury that could sideline the Chicago Bears' star linebacker the rest of the season.

"It doesn't look like he'll play this week and from there, who really knows?" Bears Coach Lovie Smith said yesterday after Urlacher sat out practice again.

Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher could miss the rest of this season with a hamstring injury. (Jeff Roberson - AP)

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Asked what the MRI exam taken this week on his left hamstring revealed, Urlacher said: "The MRI said I would be doubtful for this weekend. That's what it said."

The four-time Pro Bowler said he had no idea if he would be able to play the remaining three games, but hinted he might not.

"I really don't know, to tell you the truth. I'd like to," he said. "I don't think it was as bad as the other, as when I did my right hamstring. So we'll just see how it goes. . . . The trainers aren't sure, so we'll just see what happens."

Urlacher, who didn't miss any games his first four seasons, will sit out his fifth game this year with his third leg injury. He missed the entire preseason and two early-season games with a right hamstring injury and two more after surgery on his left calf.

Hunter Hillenmeyer will move to middle linebacker and former NFL Europe player Marcus Reese could start at one of the outside spots with Urlacher out.

Another Season for Smith?

Emmitt Smith, the NFL's most prolific ballcarrier, sounds as if he would like to come back for a 16th season, either with the Arizona Cardinals or with some other team.

"I don't have no problem playing next year," he said after practice yesterday.

Smith, who has rushed for 732 yards and nine touchdowns on 202 carries this season, stopped just short of saying for sure he will come back.

"I'm not totally happy with the I way I performed in terms of the success of the team and all," Smith, 35, said. "But I wanted to make a contribution, and I feel like I have made a contribution, and I think I've got a lot in me to make more contributions to this team or wherever it may be if I choose to continue on."

Panthers' Punter Arrested

Carolina Panthers punter Todd Sauerbrun was arrested and charged with driving while impaired, a police spokeswoman said.

Sauerbrun also was charged Wednesday night with speeding and with driving while his license was revoked, said Julia Rush of the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Department.

He was released early yesterday morning on $1,700 bond, Rush said, and participated in a team walkthrough, where he declined comment. After practice, Coach John Fox said Sauerbrun will play tomorrow night at Atlanta. . . .

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Plaxico Burress will sit out tomorrow against the New York Giants, missing his fourth consecutive game because of a sore hamstring. The Steelers also might be without running back Duce Staley (hamstring), who missed the last two practices and is listed as doubtful.

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