Visiting an elementary school in his native New Mexico as part of an NFL-sponsored "Fuel Up to Play 60," program last week, Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher broke up the monotony of a relatively quiet offseason with a little bravado.
"I think we're the best team in our conference," Urlacher told the Albuquerque Journal. "I know we're not the Super Bowl champs like the Green Bay Packers. We want to be the best in our conference and to be there, we've got to go through Green Bay."
During the visit at Gov. Bent Elementary in Albuquerque as part of the league's initiative to promote healthy eating and physical activity to children, Urlacher spoke about his offseason routine during the NFL lockout as well as revealing dietary cravings for chocolate milk and cookies, according to the newspaper.
Asked about his conditioning routine, Urlacher said it hadn't changed much from what he'd typically do in an offseason.
"It's a little longer, that's all; longer than I'd like it to be," Urlacher said. "I'm still working out hard, just not with my teammates. That's the biggest difference. I'm doing the same program I would be [doing] if I were at the facility."
Earlier this offseason, Bears players such as kicker Robbie Gould, defensive end Israel Idonije and defensive tackle Matt Toeaina attempted to work out at the team's facilities, but were turned away by club officials. Several players, meanwhile, discussed the possibility of organizing off-site workouts at some point this offseason, but none have taken place.
The players residing in the Chicago area continue to work out individually at local gyms, and training centers, while out-of-state players continue similar routines in their respective locales.
In one of the lighter moments of Urlacher's visit to the elementary school, a student asked why the linebacker used eye black.
"It makes me look tougher," Urlacher said, according to the newspaper. "At least I'd like to think it makes me look tougher. I don't know if it works."
Just as quickly, the talks turned serious again, and Urlacher was asked about stinging comments made recently about league ownership from Gould, who serves as the team's union representative.
"I'm not going to get into it," Urlacher told the newspaper. "I want to play football. I know everyone else wants to play football. Hopefully, we can make that happen soon."
Michael C. Wright covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.