The Bears lost not just a game yesterday in San Diego, they lost two important defensive players for the rest of the season: Mike Brown (S) and Dusty Dvoracek (DT).
Mike Brown has to be the unluckiest player that I’ve ever seen in a Bears uniform, possibly in all of pro football, in the entire 37+ years I’ve been watching it. When he’s on the field, he’s a game-changer, and is one of the most important forces in their run defense. He has an incredible nose for the ball, and in 2001, he won two overtime games in a row by returning interceptions for touchdowns. He is their all-time leader in defensive touchdowns with seven. Lots of great players play whole careers and never get more than one or two. And he’s missed a lot of games, and is only in his eighth year. 7 touchdowns is a lot of touchdowns for a defensive player in about 6 years of actual playing time.
But he suffers season-ending injuries with alarming frequency. And as much as I love him as a player, I’m starting to think the team needs to write him off, and wish him well. You really can’t justify saving roster spots for players that miss large chunks of a season 4 years in a row.
Dvoracek spent his entire rookie year last year on IR, but was very impressive in training camp this year. He took the starter’s job away from newly acquired seasoned veteran Darwin Walker, but is now out for the year.
You have to wonder about all these injuries, on the Bears defense in particular. Maybe they’re just unlucky. But I wonder if there is some other explanation. Are injuries up all across the league? It seems that way to me, but that is purely a seat-of-the-pants observation.
The Bears happen to be deep at both positions, but now they are less so. And last year, when Mike Brown got hurt, their run defense suffered tremendously. But this year they have Adam Archuleta, and a few young players, which may help some. But none of them are impact players like Mike Brown. And Darwin Walker should fill in for Dvoracek just fine, since they expected him to be the starter anyway.
It’s just a damn shame when a great player — Brown was headed for a Hall of Fame career, probably — gets sideswiped by a series of devastating injuries. In fact, Brown couldn’t handle the emotion, and started bawling in front of reporters after the game yesterday.
You just know that is somebody who cares, A LOT. And I can’t blame him for losing it; he’s spent so much time sitting and watching his teammates play when he couldn’t get out there, and rehabbing, and working out to get stronger to avoid further injuries, and now this. It wears on you, and you have to have the mental energy, the focus, the drive, to come back each time. Maybe his reserve is about tapped out.
It’s just a damn shame.