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Brian Urlacher eyes Bears' regular-season opener

After an excused absence for "personal reasons," Chicago Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher returned to the team on Saturday and aims to be ready for the team's regular-season opener against the Indianapolis Colts on September 9, Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune reports.

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"September 9, I'll be ready to play for sure," Urlacher said Sunday. "That's really all that matters to me. Preseason games, all these practices ... I'd love to be out there, but I'm not going to put myself in jeopardy of missing the first game."

Urlacher suffered a torn MCL and PCL in the Bears' regular-season finale. Instead of having the ligaments surgically repaired, Urlacher opted for a rehabilitation course and missed the entire offseason program. Urlacher experienced some swelling in the knee once training camp started and recently left camp for reasons he declined to discuss.

Though Urlacher is back in the fold, there does not appear to be a specific timetable for him to return to the practice field.

"Once I get back out there again, we'll monitor my reps, and try to make it where (the knee) doesn't blow up again," Urlacher said.

After missing nearly the entire 2009 season with a wrist injury, Urlacher has started 32 straight games, making the Pro Bowl after each of the last two seasons. The 34-year-old is scheduled to earn $7.5 million in base salary in 2012 and then be an unrestricted free agent next offseason.

Follow Brian McIntyre on Twitter @brian_mcintyre.

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