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The (heavy) heart of Bears defense

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Brian Urlacher returned to Chicago Bears practice Thursday, taking his status as civic ubermensch to a new level.

The consummate linebacker in the city of linebackers, Urlacher’s legend as the strong, silent man’s man is even stronger as he perseveres through tragedy following the sudden loss of his mother. His pain is universal.

The funeral for Urlacher’s mother, Lavoyda Lenard, is Saturday in Lovington, New Mexico. Number 54 will start at middle linebacker against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday in the thunderous din of the Louisiana Superdome. His story, a human story, will be the story of the day.

Read the entire column.