Why Brian Urlacher will play vs. Colts

Brian Urlacher's return from knee surgery is playing out predictably to this point.

He practiced Monday and is taking Tuesday off along with the rest of his Chicago Bears teammates. He will sit out at least one more practice this week before starting Sunday's season opener against the Indianapolis Colts. During an appearance Tuesday on ESPN 1000, Urlacher said he will take next Monday and Tuesday off, practice Wednesday and then start the Bears' quick-turn Week 2 game at the Green Bay Packers.

Many of you have asked why an alternative course hasn't at least been discussed. What about resting Urlacher against the Colts? After all, they enter the season as ESPN.com's lowest-ranked NFL team. Why not "preserve" Urlacher for the Packers game, giving him three extra days of rest afterwards and then setting him up on a weekly schedule thereafter?

In his appearance, Urlacher addressed the issue in a way that reinforces a football mentality we've discussed relative to Minnesota Vikings tailback Adrian Peterson.

"Because every game is big," Urlacher said. "Every game is big in our season. … You want to be out there for every game. I don't see it being a risk."

Whether it's Peterson or Urlacher or a third-string cornerback, NFL teams don't typically make competitive judgments when making plans for healthy players -- especially early in the season. When they're healthy, they play. Victories are never taken for granted, even if it's at home against a rookie quarterback (Andrew Luck) making his first NFL start for a team in complete rebuilding mode.

If Urlacher's knee is healthy enough to let him practice pain free on Monday, as he said was the case, then there is no reason to sit him against the Colts. If two days of heavy work cause a setback over the five-day period between Sept. 9 and Sept. 13, then it's hard to imagine that Urlacher would have made it through a full season anyway.