Brian Urlacher: Don't play if you don't want concussion


Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher wasn't shy when asked Thursday about the NFL's concussion issue.

A four-part series on player health and safety with reporter Andrea Kremer aired Tuesday through Friday on NFL Network:

Tuesday: Football's safety issues
Wednesday: Virginia Tech's helmet technology, The "Hit System"
Thursday: Inside Darrelle Revis' rehab
Friday: The lack of common safety standards in youth football

» For more information on player health and safety, visit

"If you don't want to play and get concussed, then don't play," Urlacher said. "It's your career, it's your life.

"You have to make that decision on your own."

The topic is front and center in Chicago with Bears quarterback Jay Cutler likely to miss Monday's game after sustaining a concussion last week. Urlacher believes the whole in-game testing process is shaky itself.

"Yeah, I mean there's points in every game where you get a hit and you feel a little woozy," Urlacher said. "Not every game, but mostly every game you hit someone and you're like, 'Whoa, that was a good one.'

"But I don't know how you can lie these days with all the crap they have to see who's concussed and who's not. I don't know how they can tell in the first place."

Urlacher brought up a common question among defensive players: What about dangerous blocks?

"I think they shouldn't allow cut blocks, because our knees are important to us, too," Urlacher said. "I know concussions are a big deal, too, but I think knee, cut blocks are a big deal, but that seems to be OK with the NFL. So they're not too concerned about safety, obviously. They're concerned about long-term concussions, but immediately, they're not concerned about your knees or your ankles or anything like that.

"A knee injury could put you out for a season. A concussion, you may miss a game or two. Huge difference."

Urlacher isn't alone with this mindset. Oakland Raiders wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey said he's not concerned about the long-term damage after he suffered a concussion earlier this season.

This is a problem -- as important as it is -- that won't be solved anytime soon.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.