Brian Urlacher, who'd never missed a game in his four-year career before sitting out the past two with a sore hamstring, hopes to play Sunday against the Washington Redskins.
The Chicago Bears' four-time Pro Bowl linebacker has been practicing this week and is eager to get back. It's been a frustrating run for Urlacher, who hurt the hamstring in the first practice of training camp and missed the entire preseason.
He started the first two regular season games against Detroit and Green Bay, making 14 tackles in each one with a sack and a forced fumble.
Then the injury tightened up and his string of 64 straight starts ended when he couldn't go against the Vikings on Sept. 26. He also missed a game against the Eagles on Oct. 10.
"Just practicing and all of a sudden it didn't feel right and they didn't think it would be a good idea to put me back out there," Urlacher said yesterday in Lake Forest, Ill. "We decided it was a good idea that I didn't play."
Urlacher said he's more pain-free this week than he was before the opener against the Lions. The Bears take a 1-3 record into Sunday's game.
* CARDINALS: Arizona released safety Dexter Jackson, who had been sidelined since training camp with a back injury. Jackson, the Super Bowl MVP with Tampa Bay two seasons ago, had not been able to participate in training camp and had been on the injured reserve list since early September. He was released late Wednesday, said Cardinals spokesman Mark Balton. He was not given an injury settlement. Jackson, 27, signed a five-year, $14 million contract with Arizona as a free agent last year. He played at free safety for all 16 games for the Cardinals during the 2003 season.
* DOLPHINS: Matt Bryant will kick for Miami on Sunday, his second team in two weeks, as he again fills in for one of the NFL's most accurate kickers. Last week, Bryant replaced the Colts' Mike Vanderjagt, the league's career leader in field goal accuracy. This week he fills in against Buffalo for the No. 2 man on that list: the Dolphins' Olindo Mare. Mare will miss his second straight game with a calf injury.
Also, defensive end Chidi Ahanotu has left the Dolphins after complaining about a lack of playing time.
* JETS: New York right guard Brandon Moore will miss Sunday's game against San Francisco with a strained left hamstring.