Who says rivals have to hate each other? Aaron Rodgers, who missed most of the 2017 season with a broken collarbone, spoke on former Bears' linebacker Brian Urlacher. Rodgers, who has nothing but praise for Urlacher in the past, continued to show his admiration, calling Urlacher a "first-ballot Hall of Famer."
"Brian Urlacher should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer," Rodgers said, via the Chicago Tribune's Brad Biggs. "He is one of my favorites if not my favorite player … because he is hyper-competitive. He is a tough human and he does it the right way. He plays with a lot of passion, lot of grit and a lot of class. I always enjoyed our battles."
Rodgers was certainly no stranger to facing off against Urlacher. Urlacher was a key component in the Lovie Smith Tampa-2 defense, fulfilling the same role that Derrick Brooks did on the famous Tampa Bay Buccaneer defense that won them the Super Bowl.
"What he did at the middle linebacker position revolutionized the game," Rodgers said, according to Biggs. "Before him there hadn't been a 6-[foot]-4 guy that could run down the middle like that and run sideline to sideline and take the middle of the field away in their Tampa-2 scheme and come up and hit and tackle and run and sack and blitz and intercept. To me, it shouldn't be a difficult decision for those voters to put him in the first opportunity they can."
Urlacher will be eligible for the 2018 Hall of Fame, alongside fellow first-year eligible nominees Randy Moss, Steve Hutchinson and Ray Lewis. Although he faces stiff competition, Urlacher's longevity and the fact he was a key component of some great Bears' defenses may give him an edge.