Black and Blue all over: End of line for M. Brown?

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times pens a nice ode to safety Mike Brown, who might have played his last game in a Bears uniform.

Brown aggravated a calf injury in Monday night's 20-17 victory over Green Bay and isn't expected to play Sunday at Houston, Biggs reports. Brown played in 15 games this season, his most since 2003, but he is a pending free agent and might not be re-signed after nine injury-plagued seasons.

Smart and still a good hitter, Brown has endeared loyalty throughout the Bears locker room. Perhaps the most effusive praise came from linebacker Brian Urlacher:

''He's the best football player I have ever played with. He's the smartest guy I have ever been around on and off the field, a great teammate, a leader. He's who I consider our team leader."

Coach Lovie Smith is a big fan as well, and Smith might fight to bring back Brown in some capacity next season. But whether it's this offseason or the next, the Bears are going to have to find a permanent replacement soon for one of their most beloved players.

Continuing around the NFC North: