CHICAGO -- The Hall of Fame sounds like a far off topic for Chicago Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher. The 34-year old veteran earned his 8th trip to the Pro Bowl last season when he topped the 100-tackle plateau for the 11th time in his 12-year Bears' career. Under contract with the Bears through 2012, Urlacher feels capable of playing at the minimum 2-3 more years before he contemplates retirement.
Since NFL players must wait five years after retirement to be Hall of Fame eligible, Urlacher's name isn't expected to appear on the ballot for the foreseeable future. But that didn't stop the veteran linebacker from addressing his Hall of Fame chances during an extended interview on Wednesday with ESPN 1000's 'Waddle and Silvy Show.'
"It is (important to be a Hall of Famer)," Urlacher said. "It's where you want to be. As a player you want to be the best at your position. I probably won't be the best ever because there are so many good middle linebackers, but I'd like to be right there at the top somewhere.
"I'd like to do some more things in my career and there are still some things I'd like to accomplish. It's debatable. The people who vote on that are media, right? As long as you don't upset them you should be okay."
When it comes to the best middle linebackers of the last 15 years, Urlacher is most often compared to Baltimore's Ray Lewis and the retired Zach Thomas. The three have been voted first team All-Pro a combined 16 times and earned a total of 28 trips to the Pro Bowl -- Lewis (7,13), Urlacher (4,8) and Thomas (5,7).
Lewis has the most NFL seniority entering his 17th season with the Ravens, while Thomas stepped away from the game while with Kansas City before the start of his 14th year. Urlacher is going into his 13th campaign as a member of the Bears.
"(Ray Lewis and I) are different players," Urlacher said. "We're the same, but we're different. He plays in a 3-4, I play in a 4-3. He did play in a 4-3 earlier in his career. You look at our numbers and they are very similar if you're a stats guy. Except for I don't have a Super Bowl ring. We're different there."